First, a big thank you to everyone who has told me that it’s been helpful for you to read these days. It means a lot to me, and motivates me to keep on writing. Secondly, apologies for missing yesterday. I seem to have underestimated the psychological toll of this whole situation. Even though I am safe and sound (and so is pretty much everyone I know), I am worried a lot and often, both by the pandemic itself, and increasingly about the economic chaos it’s causing, at least here in the US. So even though I had a pretty good day yesterday (some remote socializing, some work progress, watching an episode of The Witcher), I was completely exhausted by the end of it. Staying off social media helps, but often that’s easier said than done.
Anyway, I am less exhausted today, and getting to writing this before I get any more tired. The roommates made an extended shopping trip today. Most of the stores are out of things like wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. Thankfully we have enough of those in stock to last a couple weeks. We managed to pick up a substantial amount of food, both fresh and shelf-stable, as well as things like dishwasher pods, soap and shampoo. Some of the stores are rationing things like eggs and meat, and limiting the number of people who can be in at once. While these measures are inconvenient, the fact that they are being enacted is actually a good thing. It means that there will be more for everyone rather than allowing a few people to hoard everything. And the supply chain doesn’t have to play catch-up for several weeks.
The latest news on Coronovirus suggests that the virus can survive for a couple days on plastic and cardboard, so we are letting some of our new supplies sit in a corner for a few days before putting them away. Curiously, the virus only seems to survive for a couple hours on copper, and some maker of copper pens and pencils are now offering discounts on their copper products. We live in interesting times.
I’ve been keeping abreast of virus-related happenings in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth’s Department of Public Health has a concise, but informative site keeping track of Coronavirus numbers and quarantines, including a summary number of tests and confirmed cases. There is also a Twitter account for combined COVID-19 test capacity in the US. The state’s testing lab is doing about 400 tests a day, but the Broad Institute is gearing up to run a 1000 tests a day starting next week, and Quest Diagnostics in Marlborough is hoping to get up to 3000 a day. That’ll be a testing capacity of about 4000 per day for a state of 6 million. For scale, South Korea, with a population of about 52 million was doing about 12,000 tests a day. So not bad, Massachusetts, not bad at all. It would have helped to have that capacity a week ago, but there seems to be still time for effective curve-flattening. Unfortunately I am hearing that hospitals are already encountering shortages of masks and other essentials, so it’s definitely not all on the upswing. And I’m not even trying to do similar calculations for the rest of the country.
All told, today was better than yesterday, and hopefully tomorrow will be better still. I am still pursuing some sense of normalcy, and having mixed experiences. But each day is an opportunity to try again. Until then, stay safe, stay sane, and take care of each other.