Pandemic Diary #86 – agkcwjglkd

when did i last even post about my life?

anyway, i’ll braindump the covid stuff (my time with covid), post covid stuff (party), roe v wade, idk what else

COVID — when I caught covid. that’s when the roe v wade decision came out. i couldn’t protest. was pretty stressful time.

tests. can get not just the free tests through usps, but also 8 free ones per month through insurance. if get them through pharmacy, they may be able to bill insurance directly so you don’t have to deal with reimbursement. also, a friend can pick it up for you potentially if they have all the information (insurance card and birthday etc.) and you are on the phone.

paxlovid is free through test-to-treat if you have some pre-existing conditions, nationwide. “Paxlovid is currently being used to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19; the treatment costs $530 per person. However, it is being distributed for free by the U.S. federal government”

and MA has free telehealth, doesn’t interact with insurance. (but if you have insurance, it probably also provides free online apptmts)

and, they’re totally happy to have someone else pick the paxlovid script up for you (they can also mail it overnight)

was kinda curious a lot of mental health conditions are listed as risk factor

learned through researching that there is more linking physical and mental health than i thought (despite once writing an email citing articles about how laughter was good for your immune system! for SIGTBD)

mental health conditions don’t really exist as a separate thing from physical health conditions in many cases. like depression is associated with a low-level inflammatory response and increased metabolic stress which further develop the condition, especially in specific parts of the brain

do you know why covid can temporarily/permanently screw with your sense of taste and smell? that’s actually covid infecting the olfactory nerve and having integrated itself into the nervous system and causing inflammation. so if you already have a condition like depression the additional stressor of covid can cause even more inflammation or a chain reaction

and more scientifically

i thought it might be mostly social stuff, like bipolar = more like to be poor, less social support, etc. but from this JAMA paper we have both

“Mental health disorders are also associated with socioeconomic deprivation4 and reduced access to care,2 important factors of poor COVID-19 outcomes”

and also this

“Variation in the human leukocyte antigen complex is one of the most consistently replicated findings in genome-wide association studies in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Human leukocyte antigen predominantly regulates viral infection, especially COVID-19. Genetic variability across major human leukocyte antigen class I genes may contribute to differences in the immune response to COVID-19, and an inappropriate T-cell response has been implicated in severe COVID-19 outcomes. Abnormal cytokine levels have also been found in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, who are also at higher risk of hypovitaminosis D, contributing to poor COVID-19 prognosis

was interesting inversion, cdc said okay to go out after 10 days but still have mental holdover of 14 days, go into stores wearing an n95 to protect other people. unexpectedly standing in checkout line with a crowd of people is less stressful.

tested daily, negative on friday morning, then positive on sat morning on cue. symptoms not obvious right when i woke up

during noon-ish telehealth could talk for a while but eventually cough a bit. perhaps the only real sign prior to positive test is the tickle in the back of my throat didn’t go away after two days.

telehealth answered questions / med interactions and script went to walgreens. called to check they had it, and they actually didn’t and had to go elsewhere.

really tired and slept most of two or three days, had a bit of wet cough (mucousy), throat got sore enough for a day to want cough drops but it was wincing not agony. but no symptoms bad enough to interfere with sleep. not sure if i ever had a fever, no thermometer

no symptoms, negative on sat evening and again on mon morning -> went to fourth of july o__o

on the whole, possibly thanks to paxlovid my symptoms were much better than for my normal cold — can’t stop coughing and sore throat hurts that swallowing is agony like swallowing needles, if you get up snot goes everywhere, and can’t sleep well

i had clear eligibility so I didn’t ask a lot of questions, my healthier friends asked more questions during telehealth

the most relevant thing would be if I were suffering right now, it’d ease my symptoms
the long covid stuff is mostly a lingering cough for a couple months, but that does go away
if I’m not having problems with the cough now (while immediately sick), anecdotally I should be in the clear for that

so, idk, who knows…

Pfizer PFE announced additional data from the phase II/III EPIC-SR study, which evaluated the use of its COVID-19 treatment pill Paxlovid in patients who are at standard risk for developing severe COVID-19 infection.
As was reported last year, the EPIC-SR study had failed to achieve its primary endpoint of self-reported, sustained alleviation of all symptoms for four consecutive days …
And updated study concurred for hospitalization and death ttps://

set up a whole kitchen in my room, then managed to drown my work laptop. hepa filtered and n95, somehow roommate sitting next to me in living room while I was eating didn’t catch it. stressful to communicate over text. still felt like a lot of bother even though on other side I knew I wouldn’t mind in the least grabbing chopsticks etc from the kitchen.

used one of the binax tests, was confusing at first. stuck my test to the table instead of sticking it closed on itself. lol.

post covid: time to kiss all the strangers! jkjk. but i did go clubbing! at club cafe. went to indoor brunch with a live band. wow, there are so many possibilities! room escape games, whale watch tours, live comedy shows..

i didn’t get around to a lot of it, but was still fun to come up with list of ideas

other stuff?

oh, went to acadia! (and tj maxx and walmart). good hikes. saw supermoonrise, milky way. played undertale, enjoyed. fixed fuse, brakers, shifter on my ebike, spray painted it, next step attach trailer hitch and go to costco (?!). was super stressed then less stressed about phd. still pondering startup life. roommate watercolor night. want to get isntant electric feedback, looking at cameras. bookbinding! and leatherworking. woodworking tbd.

reading effortless. still listening to npr indicator and shortwave. (oh, got a bunch of npr swag and a planet money comic!), the song freaking out.

monkeypox spreading through shirtless clubbing, fire island. the webb telescope. not making progress on side projects, maybe that’s okay. dreading the future but remembering that any particular state of life can change drastically in 3 or 4 years.

Somerville, MA: Saving Money on Electricity by Going Green in 5 minutes, no landlord approval needed

Overview: We will switch electricity supplier (but not distributor) from Eversource to Somerville Community Choice Electricity.

Note: The supplier switching happens behind the scenes by Eversource. The distributor doesn’t change and there’s no modification to the hardware at all. So you don’t need landlord permission, it all happens with the click of a button.

Again, just fill out the one-page form here:

Took me 5 minutes total.


Prices In more detail

Eversource bill puts us at $0.158/kWh, or 15c / kWh. Somerville Community Choice puts us at

  • 13.2 c/kWh for 100% renewable !
  • Or 10.2c /kWh for basic (50% required by MA)
  • or 10.5c/kWh for 10% voluntary (60% total) more renewable.

So save money by switching to renewable energy. For 335 kWh the calculations:

  • $52.93 original
  • $34.17 SomervilleCCE
  • $44.22 SomervilleCCE, 100% renewable.

FAQ: What are costs? Supplier vs Delivery

Basically, half our bill is from electric supplier, which we can change at will / any time / with no fees. The other half is from our electric deliverer, which remains unchanged.

Screenshot from

On the Eversource bill you can actually see this cost breakdown. Ours is about 50/50 supplier and delivery cost. This will change depending on how much electricity you use. The below example bill shows our rate as 15.8c/kWh.

Screenshot from Eversource electricity bill

FAQ: Look up suppliers by zip code made a cool site to look up suppliers ( Here you can see for zip code 02143 the available choices of supplier, as well as their price.

Screenshot from

Step 1: Finding account information

It’s in the top right corner of your bill (probably on the second page).

Screenshot of electricity bill

Step 2: Fill out One-Page Form

Screenshot from

Step 3: Done!

Within a minute I got an email confirmation:

Screenshot of email confirmation

Enjoy the savings!

I’ll update this post in a month with our new energy bill. Let me know if you find this useful.

List of website URLs for more info

On a total tangent, Meanwhile… Will this choice be taken away?

Per this article from PV magazine, there is a bill introduced that would remove this right to switch suppliers!

This is the section of the bill

Wait, why remove consumer choice??

The argument for removing choice is that 3rd party suppliers are going door-to-door and actually scamming people / raising people’s rates, predominately low-income people, vs if they stuck with default utility rate.

Massachusetts residents who get their power through competitive electric suppliers paid $426 million more over five years than they would have if they’d stayed with their utility companies, according to a new report from Attorney General Maura Healey.

The report, prepared by the Susan M. Baldwin Consulting firm, found that low-income residents are nearly twice as likely to sign up with competitive electric suppliers and are also charged higher rates than other customers.

My 2c

But on the other hand, Eversource only offers 51% renewable as mandated by state. Whereas there are tons of 100% renewable energy plans on Mass Switch.

In my opinion seems like the choice shouldn’t be taken away ! but rather that bad faith actors should be fined and regulated.

More information

 S.2842, includes a provision that would prevent retail suppliers from creating new contracts or renewing contracts after 2023. The provision comes without amendments from S.2150, a 2021 bill from state Sen. Brendan Crighton, D, that received support and testimony from Attorney General Maura Healey and then-state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, among others

The overarching bill seems really cool. Here is it explained in plain english:

Fulltext of relevant section of the bill = I’m confused

Full text:

But, the text sounds like Somerville municipial energy would still be a choice?

SECTION 54.  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, beginning on January 1, 2023, no supplier as defined in section 1 of chapter 164 of the General Laws shall execute a new contract or renew an existing contract for generation services with any individual residential retail customer. This section shall not apply to, or otherwise affect, any government body that aggregates the load of residential retail customers as part of a municipal aggregation energy plan pursuant to section 134 of chapter 164 of the General Laws. A violation of this section shall be an unfair and deceptive act pursuant to chapter 93A of the General Laws and the attorney general may bring an action under section 4 of said chapter 93A to enforce this section and to seek restitution, civil penalties, injunctive relief and any other relief awarded pursuant to said chapter 93A., page 34

So, how to comment or ask questions?

Email Senate Committee on Ways and Means, perhaps.

Or call them!

Or perhaps look at the sponsor of the original text, Sen. Brendan Crighton from Third Essex.

I think I (or my friends who vote in MA) will email and ask what this means for people in Somerville / on the Somerville Community Choice Electricity plan. And/or if there will continue to be 100% renewable options.

A funny 404 page

Oh my cod!

Pandemic Diary #85 – hi covid

well this time i caught COVID for realsies

thanks to extensive availability of tests as well as our fairly paranoid way of interacting with other people (fairly spaced out risks), we can make some interesting conclusions on how this ran through my roommates and then the people I interacted with

(in particular — thanks US government for giving us free tests via USPS, there’s no way we would’ve caught so early without a glut of free tests)

roommate A -> does risky stuff on Saturday, nothing else for days (they actually go out the least of all of us) — tests positive Thursday evening (antigen)

roommate B -> (that’s me) PCR negative on Friday morning, Cue positive on Saturday morning

Symptoms are not super obvious, but they are kind of persistent. Friday at most was paranoia levels of “did i just not sleep well.” Saturday morning was still not super obvious (“did i not drink enough water / air kind of dry cough”) and it was really not until saturday afternoon that it was more unmistakeable

friend A -> (interacted on Thursday afternoon) Cue negative sat and sun, positive on Monday (that’s today)

So, it seems like an estimate could be E+0 days exposure -> E+4 days, PCR comes back positive. Perhaps it’s like E+0