Incarceration and the Coronavirus

We all have experiences with the Coronavirus by whatever name it is called.  These are some of mine.  I don’t guarantee all the “facts” are correct.  I try to do the best I can without going into footnotes and all that.

My original intention was to log in each day, but there was more than a week of technical problems, so I have blogs piled up since March 15.  By the time I get to doing them in real time, some of my comments will be passé.  For instance, I read these statics in the Week Magazine for the week of March 27 and found them stupefying.  The Quinnipiac University found that 60 percent of Republicans “wee not especially concerned <about COVID 19> while 60% of Democrats were the opposite.  Almost 80 percent of Democrats think the worst is ahead, while just 40% of Republicans feel that way.  (p. 16)   Under the Poll watch section on page 17.  Just 37% of Americans they trust what President Trump is saying about the coronavirus, while 60% say they have little or no trust.  74% of Republicans, However, say they trust Trump.”  NPR/PBS News-Hour/Marist.  I was out walking my dog and ran into a friend who has an elderly friend who is totally enraptured with t.  She is in two at risk groups as she also has health problems.  This woman went on about how t was doing such a great job and how safe he makes her feel.  I will be thinking about her as I put up each day’s blog.  When stressed, some people garden, others eat, others can’t eat and the television is a way out or others.  I walk and write.

I also wanted to do a little science investigation so that I would know what I was writing about.  Here is what I found.  Thanks to Linnea Palmer – an explanation that sure helped me.  This was written by an Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Parasitology LSU School of Medicine

Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand…

It has to do with RNA sequencing…. i.e.: genetics.

Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system.

This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year… you get immunity two ways…through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.

Novel viruses, come from animals…. the WHO ( World Health Org.) tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu).

But once, one of these animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to humans… then it’s a problem, Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity.. the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so, we can’t fight it off.

Now… sometimes, the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human, for years it’s only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human… once that happens..we have a new contagion phase.

And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, that’s what decides how contagious, or how deadly it’s going to be..

H1N1 was deadly….but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too.

Fast forward.  Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long…but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people.

At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”

This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity), took off like a rocket. And this was because humans have no known immunity…doctors have no known medicines for it.

And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus changed itself in such a way that it causes great damage to human lungs.

That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza…. this one is very slippery. And it’s a lung eater…And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L….which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.

We really have no tools in our shed with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.

And let me end by saying….right now it’s hitting older folks harder… but this genome is so slippery…if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say what it will do next.

Be smart folks.. acting like you’re unafraid is so not sexy right now. Stay home as much as you can for now… and share this to those that just are not catching on.


So with that information under our belts, I begin.

Quarantined, sheltered in place, home arrested, self-isolated or whatever it is called, I now have the definitive answer to the question, “Am I old yet?”  The answer is YES!!!  On the 15th of March Governor Newsom announced that all California residents must go into home isolation if they are over age 65, the high-risk population.  (This cut off line was later lowered to 60.)  How about 64 and 364 days?  Prejudice, this is gray prejudice!

I understand the purpose, so I am relatively appreciative of the reason for doing this.  Part of me likes being grounded and if I choose it, a chance to be irresponsible.  The suits say they care about the elderly, but that is not what this is about.  It is like all teachers and administrators saying the most important issue is the students.  Hogwash.  What it is about is lessening the impact of the virus on the health system so it can continue to function without being overwhelmed.  Part of me resents being told what to do and wants me to take up the issue with the local courts.  They can’t MAKE me stay at home, or can they?

I’ve contacted friends asking if they will send me bail if I get arrested running the blockade and end up in grannie jail.  The authorities delivered the notice that we had to stay home as of now – not even 24 hours to get our pantries filled.  I am not a hoarder, so I didn’t hoard, so I’m left with food for about 3 days.  I am willing to stay home from things and cancel things, but I have to eat.

I understand why there was no warning.  If we had been warned, being responsible adults and wanting to survive, we would have rushed to the markets to purchase two weeks or more of food.  There is where the carnage would begin – a ballooning old fogie rush to the store causing a terrible scene of crushed wheelchairs, broken canes and busted glasses, with victims stumbling about their arms full of toilet paper or disinfectant or, without glasses, dog food and Preparation H as EMTs, their faces swathed in Hazmat masks, direct gurneys through the devastation.  Outside ambulance sirens announce health emergencies and police sirens on cars and paddy wagons declare a civil emergency.  It is a good idea they didn’t warn us.

But seriously, what are the plans for feeding old people and others are banned from entering society for the duration?  Ah, they can count on their children and their neighbors.  This brings to mind people approaching the door with disinfected food encased in disinfected plastic bags and knocking timidly and then running for cover.  Or, they can call order food online.  I had a hospice worker once tell me that half her case load lived alone and had no contact with families or neighbors.  Remember we are the old and have outlived everyone we knew and loved if we could remember who they are.  But, the issue is really how many people cannot order food online because 1) they have no computers and do not text, or 2) they are not aware of where and how to order what they want but 3) more importantly they can’t afford to pay for what is available online or the fee to have food delivered.  Can you starve to death in 14 days?  I have popcorn and understand it can be nutritious.  And, there is always Moe, my dog, if I get desperate.  But he is muscular and would need marinating for some time.  I don’t have any marinade, oops, plan scrapped and besides, as much as he loves me, he bites.

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