The news from here

I know the news is absolutely submerging everyone with all things coronavirus, so you’ll have to excuse me for entering into the fray. However in talking to the folks back home I am struck by the difference in what we’re being told vs. what you are. In the hopes that this will be helpful, I’ve compiled a summary.

If you aren’t already confined at home, and you can stay put, do it. You have a luxury that is not afforded to all. Here it’s the law and the law has teeth. You can be fined or even jailed for repeat offenders. There’s a slogan here in France, C’est sans sortir qu’on va s’en sortir. (It’s by not going out that we’re going to pull through.) Humans don’t easily grasp the idea of exponential growth. You may think, it’s okay, I’m just going to see this one friend, go to this one store, nip in to work for a bit. You can’t see all of the contacts that the people you have contact with have had that day, that week, in the past 14 days. When you start drawing the lines between you and them, and they and theirs, you’ll see how quickly things add up.

The idea behind confinement is essentially the same as a fire break, which creates a gap in combustible materials so that the fire has nothing left to burn. You are the fuel for the virus. We need to dramatically slow this wildfire so it can burn itself out. Not to mention, the more people contaminated, the greater the chance of mutation. Don’t be a Typhoid Mary, or a Victor vector. You may feel fine, that doesn’t mean you are. Act as if you are contagious.

We are allowed out for essentials. This is mainly grocery and pharmacy. Hardware stores are open, but that doesn’t mean this is the ideal time to start that home improvement project. They are open in case you have a plumbing emergency or the like. The idea is limit your outings in public to the absolute minimum. Do not go to the store every day. We are being told to go as infrequently as possible. Forgot an ingredient? You can damn well do without it. Every outing increases your chance of exposure. In Wuhan, one family member was allowed out every 3 days.

We are told not only to wash our hands and keep a safe distance like you are, but after shopping we are advised to remove our shoes at the door, and take off our clothes. Either wash them in hot water (140 degrees) or put them in a sealed bag for 24 hours. The groceries then get sterilized too, by wiping them down with a virus effective wet wipe (Sanitol is the brand here) or rubbing alcohol. Packages get opened and bagged for recycling. Wash your hands before and after unloading the groceries. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables well. The virus lives 24 hours on paper, 4 hours on copper, 2-3 days on steel and plastic. It was detected on one of those god-forsaken cruise ships 17 days later. Leave your mail for 24 hours before getting it in.

It lives 3 hours airborne too. Which brings us to masks. Ok, the hoarding is bad there, I get why you’ve been told they’re ineffective if you’re not sick, but they do prevent infection too. N95s are necessary for health care workers dealing with aerosolized particles and there’s not enough of them. (Thanks to just-in-time business practices, there’s no slack in the system.) You can make a homemade one and still reduce your chances of contamination. It even reminds you not to touch your face! Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Here’s an article in english:  They can be sterilized and reused.

What you do matters. People are mirroring and mimicking animals. If you see no one on your street, you’re much more likely to stay inside, but if you see lots of people out in groups, you’re more likely to think to hell with it, I’m going out too. Acting sensibly gives others the cover to act sensibly even if they’re mostly surrounded by deniers.

We’re allowed out solo or as couples (if you live together) for walks and exercise. One hour, within one kilometer of home. Keeping safe distances from others of course. Fresh air keeps the demons at bay (quoting Austin Kleon here). Not to mention it’s a good idea to get a nice dose of vitamin d.  If the sun is higher than 50 degrees in the sky, you will convert.  Easy way to tell is if your shadow is shorter than you are, it’s over 45°.

Not to freak you out, but Italy is rationing care. No one over 60 is getting a ventilator. Think it can’t happen in the US? Think again. The numbers aren’t looking good for you. Not to mention that the usual load of car accidents, heart attacks, and shootings aren’t taking a break in the wake of this pandemic.

Whew, I know, that was harsh. I’ve had one too many chats where I’ve felt the need to keep saying no, stay home…you know you can just stay home?…how about staying home?

I’m staying home. You in?

Cheers anyway,


hand sanitizer.jpg

I never thought we’d see the day where finding hand sanitizer would be a photo worthy event.