Seattle Love

April 3, 2020

A carpenter cuts plywood to cover a closed store in downtown Seattle.

[Elaine Thompson, AP]

 

Sun Valley & COVID-19

Why an Idaho Ski Destination Has One of the Highest COVID-19 Infection Rates in the Nation

Blaine County, Idaho, for example, which is roughly the size of Delaware, has just three hundred and ninety-nine confirmed cases and two deaths. But, with approximately twenty-two thousand full-time residents, the county’s infection rate is now the highest in the nation—greater even than those of New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties, and possibly on par with earlier pandemic epicenters in northern Italy and Wuhan, China. And, as in Italy, the situation is exacerbated in the aging resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley, where the average ages of residents are forty-six and sixty, respectively.

Idaho’s doctors and nurses face the greatest danger. More than fifty health-care workers have tested positive in the state’s South Central Health District, about forty of whom work for the St. Luke’s hospital system in Blaine County and Twin Falls to the south. Jesse Vanderhoof, a nurse at St. Luke’s hospital, in Ketchum, was administering nasal swabs at a drive-up testing site before he became sick. As his condition deteriorated, on March 24th, his wife dropped him back at the E.R.; hours later, she received a call saying that her previously healthy, thirty-nine-year-old husband had suffered a seizure and was boarded onto a life flight bound for Boise. He was put on a ventilator for several days before regaining the strength to breathe on his own.

Brent Russell, one of two E.R. physicians at St. Luke’s in Ketchum who tested positive, battled a hundred-and-four-degree fever with shaking chills; he would awaken in the middle of the night, unable to catch his breath. Russell wrote a letter to the local Idaho Mountain Express pleading with a community that, in his view, was either unable or unwilling to adapt to the new rules of the pandemic. “People were not taking this seriously,” he told me. “I would look out the windows of my house and see groups of people talking and congregating in the street.” As his wife, son, niece, and nephew all came down with symptoms of covid-19, Russell applauded Governor Little’s abrupt stay-at-home order, a decision that caught many by surprise in a state known as a refuge for anti-government individualists. “We need a heavy hand right now,” Russell said. “We need all forces thrown at stopping this thing.”

A ski resort is, in many ways, an ideal breeding ground for an epidemic. Skiing and snowboarding may look from a distance like solitary pursuits; the helmets, goggles, and neck warmers may be assumed to function like alpine hazmat suits. But, at major resorts, stretches of brisk, wintry liberation on the slopes are interrupted by long chairlift and gondola rides, during which people sit shoulder to shoulder and knee to knee with a perpetually rotating cast of strangers. The National Brotherhood may not have brought the virus to Idaho, but it did bring the party, and, in ski towns across America and the rest of the world this winter, the two have gone hand in hand. Ski-resort areas in California, Colorado, and elsewhere “show higher infection rates than more densely populated cities nearby,” Adventure Journal noted, including Mono County, California, the home of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, which now has the highest per-capita rate of covid-19 in the state. In Europe, several governments tracked hundreds of coronavirus cases to one Austrian ski town, with some epidemiological reports identifying beer-pong tables as a potential source of infection. In Mexico, the chairman of the Mexican Stock Exchange tested positive after returning from a ski trip to Colorado’s Vail resort.

Tensions between big-spending outsiders and the local workforce that relies on their spending define life in any vacation town. But, in a pandemic, the calculus is changing. In the Idaho Mountain Express classifieds, one local summed up the situation in Biblical terms: “To everyone coming here to ‘ride out the storm,’ please stay in for 2 weeks before you immerse yourself in our town. Please don’t buy a 3-month supply of groceries, leaving little for the rest of us. Don’t be a plague of locusts.”

[Full Article]

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-an-idaho-ski-destination-has-one-of-the-highest-covid-19-rates-in-the-nation?fbclid=IwAR12-wTBz9O0Bonr9n8QsbW3lj8ofc7824Gqb7tSOb0o_I8-Nthqz-OnjW8

 

‘A heart driven to connect.’

“A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other.”

Bill Withers

1938-2020

ROLLING STONE:

The three-time Grammy winner released just eight albums before walking away from the spotlight in 1985, but he left an incredible mark on the music community and the world at large. Songs like “Lean On Me,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Use Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Lovely Day” are embedded in the culture and have been covered countless times. While many of Withers’ biggest songs were recorded in the Seventies, they have proven to be timeless hits. “Lean on Me” emerged once again in recent weeks as an anthem of hope and solidarity in the time of COVID-19.

He had to endure incredible racism in the Jim Crow South. “One of the first things I learned, when I was around four,” he said, “was that if you make a mistake and go into a white women’s bathroom, they’re going to kill your father.”

Looking back decades later, Withers was still amazed at his success at a relatively late age in his life. “Imagine 40,000 people at a stadium watching a football game,” he told Rolling Stone. “About 10,000 of them think they can play quarterback. Three of them probably could. I guess I was one of those three.”

In 2015, he made a rare public appearance when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I still have to process this,” he said shortly after learning the news.

Bill Withers, Hall of Fame Soul Singer, Dead at 81

And still we rise.

April 2, 2020

 

Hala Alyan.

EMERGENCE MAGAZINE

‘Can we make room for grief, empathy, and hope?

We are all suddenly sleeper cells. Nobody is impervious. Nobody can buy their way out of it. (Though certainly those without resources will suffer more.) We are all in an elaborate, complicated ballet with everyone else, and the only thing more astonishing than this new reality is that it isn’t new at all. Only our awareness of it is.

want to talk to my great-grandparents, to the generations who lived through genocide and immigration. Never before have I been more acutely aware of the role of elders, a population that capitalism—and, by extension, our culture—tends to overlook and undervalue. Nowhere does our history exist more vibrantly than in those who lived it. I want to line up my ancestors. I want to know how they survived.

Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.

Empathy is a powerful potion, not for the faint of heart. Empathy requires opening yourself to suffering. I wonder what muscles of empathy will be built through this experience—towards those who struggle with their health, those who are imprisoned, those who get detained fleeing calamity. Those living under occupation.

The pandemic isn’t necessarily creating fears for people. It’s instead serving as a flashlight—illuminating people’s unsteadiest, half-finished parts. It’s showing us where our work remains.’

This Is Not a Rehearsal

“What I’m seeing is very scary in our emergency department.”

ER Doctor Issues Dire Warning

EYE ON SUN VALLEY

By Karen Bossick

‘Everyone needs to avoid contact with everyone outside their household or we’re not going to stop this thing.

“What I’m seeing is very scary in our emergency department, and that is volumes of patients who are very ill and who we’ve had to admit. Last weekend we admitted four patients in one hour,” Dr. Jim Torres told Dr. Tommy Ahlquist on Ahlquist’s Inspire Excellence podcast this week.

Torres said the beds at St. Luke’s Magic Valley hospital in Twin Falls are being filled up with patients from the Wood River Valley.

“And, if you can imagine, they get their own cases, and Boise gets their own cases filling up the ICUs with sick patients. Then, you know, they potentially could run out of beds, could run out of ICU beds, could run out of ventilators, and then we can get into the crisis mode where New York City is and some of these other big cities. It could happen here.”’

“You can look really well and have this virus and be giving it to other people who aren’t going to do so well… And there it goes,” he added. “You give it to one person. That person gives it to another person and so on and so on and so on. And that’s what’s happened here in our town.”

“It would be a nightmare if Twin and Boise started getting the number of cases Blaine County is seeing  because there are so many more people in those towns, he said.

“And a lot more people who could be exposed and who could become ill. That would be a disaster.”

Torres’ plea comes at a time when Ketchum Fire Chief is pleading for volunteers—ski patrollers or others—to drive ambulances. Torres’ stable of paid staff members and volunteers has been decimated due to the coronavirus. The fire department has even borrowed ambulances from the City of Carey and elsewhere to keep up with the demand.

The number of cases in Ada County where Boise sits has climbed past Blaine County’s in the past few days.

Idaho reported 672 cases on Wednesday. It was the largest single-day increase, up from 527 the day before.

Despite the growing numbers in Blaine County, several Eye on Sun Valley readers reported Wednesday that the traffic through Ketchum seems to have grown, not lessened. And supermarkets are bustling.

“No spacing between people as they come in, and I was told that some people come in every day,” said one woman.

“That’s why so many people are still coming down with it. No one is paying attention to the social isolation order. They don’t think they will get it, either because they are younger or they still think it’s a hoax. Someone needs to get word to them to stop. It’s just awful.”

Another woman said she was out on a daily walk near Knob Hill Park when she saw several teens and young adults gathered there.

“I considered going up and talking to them about the importance of social distancing, but I didn’t know them and felt uncertain of my welcome,” she said. “How do we educate kids about this and what can happen if they bring it home to their families or others.”

https://eyeonsunvalley.com/Story_Reader/7108/ER-Doctor-Issues-Dire-Warning/

 

Find help.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached by calling 800-799-7233.

Or

texting LOVEIS to 22522

Or

by going to thehotline.org

Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting HOME to 741741.

 

🌏

April 1, 2020

oof.

🌱

Gaia didn’t take long to show us how quickly, how fine, the planet will still be once humans back off…or leave.

HUFFPOST

Killer Whales Take Advantage Of People’s Social Distance To Visit Quiet Vancouver Shore

The visited the normally bustling industrial area with some of their young.

‘Killer whales aren’t often spotted in the Burrard Inlet because it’s an industrial area that can get quite loud. But social distancing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 seem to have had a side-effect: they’ve made the fjord quiet. People in Vancouver noticed a pod of orcas, which included babies, taking the opportunity to visit the uncharacteristically quiet waters of Indian Arm and marvelled at the sight.’

GLOBAL NEWS

Coronavirus clears beach for endangered sea turtle hatchlings in Brazil

SCIENCE BUSINESS

After Europe ground to a coronavirus-enforced halt, images captured by one of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus satellites showed huge reductions in nitrogen dioxide concentrations over Paris, Madrid and Rome from 14 – 25 March, compared to the same week in 2019.

The same is true for China, where the Copernicus satellite recorded a dramatic fall in NO2 released by power stations, factories and vehicles in all major Chinese cities between late January and February. ESA also observed a decrease of around 20 – 30 per cent in fine particulate matter, one of the most important air pollutants, in February 2020 compared to the previous three years.

On an individual level however, the coronavirus lockdown could inspire climate-friendly actions, according to Wouter. “This could be an opportunity to see how we can re-organise our activities to benefit the climate. Home office and teleworking, for example. There are a lot of conferences held every year leading to air traffic and emissions. We can use existing technology to replace these and combat climate change,” he said.

Those campaigning for strong climate policies could also learn from the cooperation seen between experts, politicians and the public in the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s remarkable that you see this union being formed between scientists, policymakers and the public. People are asking for strong policies and, based on scientific evidence, policymakers are taking action,’ said Thiery.

 

CNBC

Clear water is seen in Venice’s canals due to less tourists, motorboats and pollution, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues following the country’s lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis.

 

FORBES

The COVID-19 crisis has led to an unprecedented drop in global air traffic amid government-imposed travel restrictions and airlines reducing or ceasing flight operations. According to flight tracking website flighttrader24, commercial air traffic shrunk 41% below 2019 levels in the last two weeks of March.

And, the goats.

THE GUARDIAN

Mountain goats roam the streets of Llandudno, north Wales, on 31 March. They normally live on the rocky Great Orme but are occasional visitors to the seaside town, drawn this time, it is thought, by the lack of people and tourists due to Covid-19. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

Sing.

~Richard Hendrick

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

One precious life.

[Post by Robert Ellsberg]

‘She kept a diary, not simply as a distraction but as a duty, a responsibility to render her experience and her feelings in the most accurate terms. Along with the everyday experiences of a young girl confined indoors she recorded very unchildlike reflections on her perilous life.

“I see the 8 of us with our ‘Secret Annex’ as if we were a little piece of blue heaven, surrounded by heavy black rain clouds. The spot where we stand is still safe, but the clouds gather more closely about us and the circle which separates us from the approaching danger, closes more and more tightly.”

Nevertheless she believed it was her duty to maintain her courage, cheerfulness, and belief in the essential goodness of people, and to uphold her ideals,

“for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.”

While acknowledging the suffering that surrounded her “piece of blue heaven” and the approaching thunder “which will destroy us too” she thanked God for “all that is good and dear and beautiful” and maintained her faith in a better world.

Rarely has anyone so well defined the virtues needed in our age as this 14-yr-old already living under sentence of death. She was one of those in a dark age whose task is to maintain a candlelight of humanity as a guarantee that darkness does not have the final word.’

Roberts Ellsberg is publisher of Orbis Books. His dad, Daniel, gave us The Pentagon Papers. He knows a bit about patriotism, duty, and hope.

 

We need you.

“The world we want to make when we get out of this.”

-Krista Tippett, On Being

 

 

Who’s in?

 

 

The sweetness of noticing your life.

March 31, 2020

I’m ready for some happiness. Mother Teresa reminds us.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

The world, this shadow of the soul, or other me, lies wide around. Its attraction are the keys which unlock my thoughts and make me acquainted with myself. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

When do you feel you are most in touch with your spirit, the core of your being? Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? Who would you want to be with? How does this make you feel? -Alexandra Stoddard

If the future seems dark to us is it not perhaps because we are witnessing the dawn of a light that has never before been seen? We live in an age in which charity can become heroic as it has never been before. We live, perhaps, on the threshold of the greatest eucharistic era of the world–the earth that may witness the final union of all mankind. -Thomas Merton

Enjoyment is the sweetness of noticing your life right now; the sunset, the taste of cool water, the smell of clean sheets. Find something to enjoy right now. -Judith Hanson Lasater

“Do you know what those people are doing, boys? Fertilizing daffodils!” -Robin Williams as Mr. Keating in ‘Dead Poets Society’

 

Oh my gaia.

6.5 EARTHQUAKE FELT ACROSS IDAHO, CENTERED IN CHALLIS.

Felt in Montana, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Nevada.

It was intensely felt in Sun Valley, Idaho.

KTVB/NBC 7 Boise

6.5 magnitude earthquake rattles Idaho and 7 surrounding states

BOISE, Idaho — At 5:52 p.m. Tuesday, the Idaho and states throughout the Northwest were rattled by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake, according to the USGS.

The USGS reports that the epicenter was west of Challis and 73.3 miles north of Meridian.

According to the USGS map, the epicenter of the earthquake was next to Shake Creek and Laidlow Creek in the north-central Idaho mountains.

The USGS had a delay in reporting the earthquake because of social distancing, according to Paul Bodin, the head of the University of Washington seismology lab, who talked to our sister station in Seattle, KING.

KTVB staff felt the possible earthquake from North Boise, Meridian, and Nampa. One of our staff members said her family in Montana felt the earthquake.

People in seven different states reportedly felt the 6.5 magnitude earthquake, according to the USGS’s intensity map.

The earthquake came less than two weeks after a major quake rattled Utah, Idaho’s neighbor to the south. That 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck just outside Salt Lake City, damaging buildings and spurring evacuations.

The USGS said the earthquake’s depth was 10 kilometers.

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean tweeted out “Boise, yes you did feel an #earthquake. City officials are checking all our facilities and public safety officers are conducting structural checks downtown and in our neighborhoods.”

A 4.6-magnitude aftershock was felt after the earthquake throughout Boise and the Treasure Valley.

KTVB contacted several gas stations in Challis, Stanley, and Cascade and they said there was no severe damage to buildings or property there.

The Boise Police Department tweeted that they have not received any reports of damage.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office told KTVB that they have no reported structural damage at this time.

This is a developing story and this article will be updated when further information is made available.

https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/local/apparent-earthquake-rattles-the-treasure-valley-and-the-northwest/277-f791186e-3307-4fb6-9a48-0f6aa3b0b169

“You have to learn to deal with yourself.”

March 30, 2020

 

Solitary Confinement Advise for Life with Covid in the Free World

‘People have been asking me questions ever since this “shelter in place,” with people having to stay home. It’s somewhat similar I suppose to being in solitary confinement, even though you might be with family and whatnot.

Being in solitary confinement is really just being thrown upon yourself: You’re running around, just like people do in your regular life, and now all of a sudden you’re confronted with yourself, and find that in a lot of cases you haven’t really put anything into yourself to occupy yourself.

Everything is outward directed. That’s what happened to me 27 years ago, and what happens to a lot of guys who are initially thrown into this situation—it’s like being thrown into the ocean. You have to learn how to swim. You have to learn how to deal with yourself.

I’ve watched quite a few people fall apart, lose their minds. But I went in another direction. So 27 years later I’m still sound in mind and body and spirit. I attribute that to just reading and cultivating myself. That’s the thing, when you’re thrown upon yourself, you realize you are more equipped than you realized. A lot of the system keeps us from realizing our own power. It’s a good opportunity for people to tap into that.

Being in solitary confinement, it’s a punishment. But people out in society, it’s an opportunity for your kids to get more in tune with themselves. Because when you’re in school, especially with the internet being what it is, everybody is generally being pulled away from themselves. 

The root word of education is “to educe,” to bring forth that which is already there. Education isn’t really about what kind of career you’re gonna get or how you’re gonna make money. That’s not why we were born, to make money for somebody else. To get a big house. To have a nice car. You’re here to bring forth that which is already there. Hopefully young people being forced to stay home outside of the mainstream curriculum are able to get a glimpse of themselves and start pulling on that thread.’

I’ve Spent 27 Years in Solitary Confinement. Here Are Some Tips on Making the Best Use of Time Alone.

 

From His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 

My dear brothers and sisters,

I am writing these words in response to repeated requests from many people around the world. Today, we are passing through an exceptionally difficult time due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to this, further problems confront humanity such as extreme climate change. I would like to take this opportunity to express my admiration and gratitude to governments across the world, including the Government of India, for the steps they are taking to meet these challenges.

Ancient Indian tradition describes the creation, abiding and destruction of worlds over time. Among the causes of such destruction are armed conflict and disease, which seems to accord with what we are experiencing today. However, despite the enormous challenges we face, living beings, including humans, have shown a remarkable ability to survive.

No matter how difficult the situation may be, we should employ science and human ingenuity with determination and courage to overcome the problems that confront us. Faced with threats to our health and well-being, it is natural to feel anxiety and fear. Nevertheless, I take great solace in the following wise advice to examine the problems before us: If there is something to be done—do it, without any need to worry; if there’s nothing to be done, worrying about it further will not help.

Everyone at present is doing their best to contain the spread of the coronavirus. I applaud the concerted efforts of nations to limit the threat. In particular, I appreciate the initiative India has taken with other SAARC countries to set up an emergency fund and an electronic platform to exchange information, knowledge and expertise to tackle the spread of Covid-19. This will serve as a model for dealing with such crises in future as well.

I understand that as a result of the necessary lockdowns across the world, many people are facing tremendous hardship due to a loss of livelihood. For those with no stable income life is a daily struggle for survival. I earnestly appeal to all concerned to do everything possible to care for the vulnerable members of our communities.

I offer special gratitude to the medical staff—doctors, nurses and other support personnel—who are working on the frontline to save lives at great personal risk. Their service is indeed compassion in action.

With heartfelt feelings of concern for my brothers and sisters around the world who are passing through these difficult times, I pray for an early end to this pandemic so that your peace and happiness may soon be restored.
 
With my prayers,

Dalai Lama

Local Journalism

‘Like many in business, trusted news organizations are being hit hard by this pandemic. If you can, please consider subscribing to your local paper or contributing to a VT news organization. You deserve transparency and the truth, and they work hard to keep you informed.

-Vermont Governor Phil Scott

governor.vermont.gov


NYTimes

Ben Smith

“Abandon most for-profit local newspapers, whose business model no longer works, and move as fast as possible to a national network of nimble new online newsrooms. That way, we can rescue the only thing worth saving… the journalists.”

The coronavirus is likely to hasten the end of advertising-driven media, our columnist writes. And government should not rescue it.

“There’s all this ‘doom and gloom for local journalism stories’ that have happened in the last week or so, and I hope that other people see what we’re doing and understand that the important thing is the journalism — it’s the stories, it’s the investigations — that’s what matters,” Ken Ward said. He will also be on the staff of the nonprofit investigative powerhouse ProPublica and will have support from Report for America, another growing nonprofit organization that sends young reporters to newsrooms around the country.

The news business, like every business, is looking for all the help it can get in this crisis. Analysts believe that the new federal aid package will help for a time and that the industry has a strong case to make. State governments have deemed journalism an essential service to spread public health information. Reporters employed by everyone from the worthiest nonprofit group to the most cynical hedge fund-owned chain are risking their lives to get their readers solid facts on the pandemic, and are holding the government accountable for its failures. Virtually every news outlet reports that readership is at an all-time high. We all need to know, urgently, about where and how the coronavirus is affecting our cities and towns and neighborhoods.

So what comes next? That decision will be made in the next few months — by public officials, philanthropists, and other tech companies, and people like you.

The right decision is to consistently look to the future, which comes in a few forms. The most promising right now is Ms. Green’s dream of a big new network of nonprofit news organizations across the country on the model o The Texas Tribune, which Mr. Thornton co-founded. There are also a handful of local for-profit news outlets, like The Seattle Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe, with rich and civic-minded owners, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, which is owned by the non-profit Lenfest Institute for Journalism. And there is a generation of small, independent membership or subscription sites and newsletters like Berkeleyside.

Elizabeth Green, a founder of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization reporting on education issues, in Washington, D.C.

[Avi Schiffmann]

The High Schooler Who Became a COVID-19 Watchdog

The New Yorker

by Brent Crane

In December, DT said, “We have a problem that, a month ago, nobody thought about.” Well, somebody did. On December 29th, as DT vacationed with his family at Mar-a-Lago, Avi Schiffmann, a seventeen-year-old from Washington State, launched a homemade Web site to track the movement of the coronavirus. Since then, the site, ncov2019.live, has had more than a hundred million visitors. “I wanted to just make the data easily accessible, but I never thought it would end up being this big,” the high-school junior said last week over FaceTime. Schiffmann, gap-toothed and bespectacled, was sitting on his bed wearing a blue T-shirt and baggy pajama bottoms. It was late morning. He was at his mother’s house, on Mercer Island, outside Seattle.

https://ncov2019.live

Using a coding tactic known as “web-scraping,” Schiffmann’s site collates data from different sources around the globe—the W.H.O., the C.D.C., Yonhap News Agency in South Korea—and displays the latest number of covid-19 cases. It features simple graphics and easy-to-read tables divided by nation, continent, and state. Data automatically updates every minute. In a politicized pandemic, where rumor and panic run amok, the site has become a reputable, if unlikely, watchdog.

He began teaching himself to code when he was seven, mainly by watching YouTube videos, and has made more than thirty Web sites. “Programming is a great creative medium,” he said. “Instead of using a paintbrush or something, you can just type a bunch of funky words and make a coronavirus site.” One of his first projects, in elementary school, was what he calls “a stick-figure animation hub.” Later sites collated the scores for his county’s high-school sports games, aggregated news of global protests, and displayed the weather forecast on Mars. “His brain is constantly going from one thing to another, which is good, but I also try to focus him in,” his mother, Nathalie Acher, said. “I’m not techy at all myself. I see it as just really boring. He sees it as an art form.”

Schiffmann took the virus threat seriously before many others did. “I’ve been kind of concerned for a while, because I watched it spread very fast, and around the entire world. I mean, it just kind of went everywhere.” He took his own precautions. “I got masks a while ago. I got, like, fifteen for seventeen dollars. Now you can’t even buy a single mask for, like, less than forty.” His mother chimed in. “I wish I had listened to him,” she said. “But, in his teen-ager way, he’d come down the stairs with his eyes huge and be, like, ‘There are fifty thousand more cases!’ and I’d be, like, ‘Yeah, but they’re over there, not here.’ ”

Her son is a C student.

Now that the grownups of the world are finally, and appropriately, freaking out, it is hard for Schiffmann not to feel righteous vindication. “If you told someone three months ago that we should spend, like, ten billion dollars in upgrading the United States’ health care, they would have been, like, ‘Nah,’ ” he said. “Now, everyone’s, like, ‘Oh, my God, yes.’ But this is the kind of stuff we should have done a long time ago.”

Young people give me so much hope. ❥ -dayle

 

Keeping Connected and Compassionate

The USNS Comfort hospital ship enters New York to help relieve the load on coronavirus-stricken hospitals.

NATURE.COM

Seven tips to manage your mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak

This is unlikely to be the writer’s retreat that you have long dreamt of. The suggestion that periods of quarantine might bring unprecedented productivity implies we should raise the bar, rather than lower it. Do not underestimate the cognitive and emotional load that this pandemic brings, or the impact it will have on your productivity, at least in the short term. Difficulty concentrating, low motivation and a state of distraction are to be expected. Adaptation will take time. Go easy on yourself. As we settle into this new rhythm of remote work and isolation, we need to be realistic in the goals we set, both for ourselves and others in our charge.

Proactively manage your stress threshold

Try to lay a solid foundation for your mental health and well-being by prioritizing your sleep, and practise good sleep hygiene (for example, avoid blue lights before bed, and maintain a routine around your sleep and wake times). Eat well (be conscious that you might be inclined to lean on alcohol, or other indulgences, to manage stress — this is understandable, but potentially damaging in the long run). Exercise: it will lower your stress levels, help you to better regulate your emotions and improve your sleep.

Know your red flags

One way to manage moments of distress is to identify key thoughts or physical sensations that tend to contribute to your cycle of distress and feelings of being overwhelmed. Our thoughts (“Why can’t I concentrate?”), feelings (frustration, worry, sadness), physical sensations (tension, upset stomach, jitters) and actions (such as compulsively checking the latest COVID statistics) each feed into and amplify these negative emotional spirals. Addressing one aspect of this loop by, for example, actively reducing the physical symptoms (I use box breathing: breathe in for four counts, hold for four, breathe out for four and hold for four, then repeat) can de-escalate the cycle and help you regain control.

Routine is your friend

It helps to manage anxiety, and will help you to adapt more quickly to this current reality. Create clear distinctions between work and non-work time, ideally in both your physical workspace and your head space. Find something to do that is not work and is not virus-related that brings you joy. Working in short bursts with clear breaks will help to maintain your clarity of thought.

Be compassionate with yourself and with others

There is much that we cannot control right now, but how we talk to ourselves during these challenging times can either provide a powerful buffer to these difficult circumstances or amplify our distress. Moments of feeling overwhelmed often come with big thoughts, such as “I cannot do this,” or “This is too hard.” This pandemic will cause a lot of stress for many of us, and we cannot be our best selves all the time. But we can ask for help or reach out when help is asked of us.

Maintain connections

Even the most introverted of us need some sense of connection to others for our mental as well as our physical health. Many working groups have created virtual forums where you can contribute or just sit back and enjoy the chatter. Staff teams have instigated virtual coffee groups, online book clubs and co-working spaces where you can work in the (virtual) presence of others. We are in social isolation, but we need not feel alone. Reach out to those who might be particularly isolated.

Manage uncertainty by staying in the present

Take each day as it comes and focus on the things you can control. Mindfulness and meditation can be great tools.

This will probably be a stressful time for all of us, and will test the mental-health policies and practices of many research institutes, just as it is testing much else in the world. By embracing good mental-health and well-being measures, and by relying on others when necessary, we can protect ourselves and those around us.

By clinical psychologist Desiree Dickerson

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00933-5

 

‘Put another dime in the jukebox, baby.’

 

‘Alan Merrill, who wrote the song “I Love Rock and Roll” that became a signature hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett, died Sunday in New York of complications from the coronavirus, his daughter said. He was 69.’ #COVID19US

🖤

Turn it up.

March 29, 2020

Egg Pancake

March 28, 2020

Just learned about this from my quarantined friend in Italy; helps your egg supply go a little further.

(Apparently this was popular during the Great Depression.)

1 egg…whisk in some water…whisk in 1 tbs of flour until smooth…butter in a pan…cook like a pancake.

More filling, too.

Thanks, Jan.

 

#GeneralStrike

The shift begins now.

Anand Giridharadas, political analyst and author, posted March 2020:

If we could come out of this crisis with a single widely shared belief, if some once-controversial idea could become a new consensus, what do you hope it would be?

Here’s mine:

COVID has revealed the U.S. Government is more harmful than helpful. We the people are the power. We can see the shift now. When the people stop, everything stops. And the billionaires panic. We choose. #GeneralStrike

Clean Web Design