• I don’t know if you remember, but DH’s relative’s wife’s anti-vax, anti-mask family all got Covid over Thanksgiving and at least two of them were hospitalized.  (The relative’s wife in question has a suppressed immune system and had brain cancer a few years back.  Her relatives don’t care.)  Well, the relative just emailed to let DH know that two of them, including one that was hospitalized just got Covid a second time.  They’re still unvaxxed and still anti-mask.  One of them is taking ivermectin but the other is old school with the hydrocloroquinine.  That is a really short time period between getting Covid again.  Was one Delta and the other Omicron?
  • Update:  The entire extended family (except DH’s relative’s wife who is boosted but still spent two hours at the super-spreader event unmasked) now has covid again.
  • The NYTimes numbers and our health department’s numbers for new covid cases in our county have started varying really dramatically, like by hundreds of cases per day (NYTimes being the larger).  Plus the NYTimes has stopped reporting 0 new cases on weekends.  (The health department doesn’t work on weekends.)
  • Our health department took extremely lengthy holidays between Dec 22nd and Jan 7th.  They worked about two days within that time-frame, meaning during the early ramp up of omicron there was no information.  When they came back they had a huge backlog of cases.  But they don’t count cases that are reported to them, only cases that they have fully investigated.
  • Every day the backlog cases number gets larger by a bigger amount than the number of cases they’ve screened.  As of this writing (which was a week ago) they are reporting about 150 new cases per day per 100K people and the backlog is about 2,100 new cases per 100K people.  If trends continue, tomorrow’s backlog will be minimum 2,300 per 100K people.  (Update:  it was 2,400 per 100K.  Update 2:  It seems to have stalled out around 2,500 per 100K, though students haven’t gotten back yet.)
  • The health department has also stopped reporting daily numbers on their twitter feed.  You basically have to read a local news article to get their numbers each day.
  • Our town had a couple of pop-up drive-through testing sites that had really long lines.  They still have not reported their positives to the health department.
  • The health department has also said that they won’t accept home-tests and if you want your case included in the count you need to get an official test.  But it’s really hard to get official tests locally and if you do, you wait hours.
  • The health department itself doesn’t do testing.  They’ve outsourced it to a few local pharmacies.  Most of the university’s testing sites were closed over break.
  • My university has decided not to do drive-through testing at the beginning of the year, but instead will allow people to order and pick up two Binax tests/week on campus.  On the one hand, this is useful because you can use the Binax tests on family members and you can use them at your convenience.  On the other hand, it is a hassle to order them and pick them up for a large portion of campus (my part of campus specifically).  I’m hoping at least one of their locations is convenient to undergraduates.
  • It also means they’re not going to be getting people in denial about having covid or who don’t know they have covid at the beginning of the semester like they have in previous semesters when testing the first two weeks of school was required.  Those cases will also not be reported to the health department like they would have been previously.  Though of course they likely would have just been added to the backlog.
  • Update:  They underestimated demand so are limiting people to one box.
  • DC2 says most of hir teachers are now masked even though they weren’t the first week.  So far there haven’t been many reported student absences at hir school, but there have been several staff members.  Both DC1 and DC2 have reported having a lot of substitutes.
  • DC1’s school has had double digits of new cases every day, but so far it hasn’t been as bad as it was in August.  It’s only been a couple of weeks though.  Update:  then it went to zero for students for a while (but staff still being reported).  But DC1 says students are absent?  The numbers aren’t matching up with the experience.  I’m guessing people aren’t testing/reporting?  Or maybe it really is that everyone got it who was going to get it?  Update:  Numbers went up again.
  • DC2 says that most students don’t wear masks at all and many of the people who do regularly pull them down below their chins.  Zie says zie’s often reminding people to pull them up.  Zie has also handed out a lot of masks to other kids.  DC2’s first period teacher has also started handing out masks.
  • DC1 says more high schoolers are wearing masks than before break.
  • DC1 got a mild headache the day after hir booster.
  • I don’t know if behealthyusa.net is still doing this, but they sent a freebie holiday mask along with our last order.  It had snowmen and pine trees on it.  Very cute.
  • The university has a test positivity rate of around 25%.  That implies that a LOT of cases aren’t being diagnosed.  But the county’s rate is only 10% (which is still not great, but is much lower).  It’s hard to think about who is selecting into these groups when students are out and when the health department is so far behind in its figuring out how many actual cases there are.  What are the county’s numerator and denominator?
  • I read some articles on Long Covid, and some of the symptoms are similar to the aftermath of that horrible virus DH had that made him think he had rabies.  That is, the doctors he saw think that’s what caused nerve damage that led to involuntary muscle twitches.  After 2+ years the twitches are getting less frequent.  I’d also gotten some brain fog from a virus that was long lasting that finally started to go away.  It is really scary feeling less intelligent than usual when your whole identity is pinned on being one of the smart ones and you’re used to being good at remembering and figuring things out and all of a sudden you have to come up with other ways to do things, or give up on doing them at all. (The truly scary bit is not even realizing you’re making mistakes.) Having seen many of my students and RAs suddenly get less intelligent, making mistakes they never would have before, forgetting things right away, etc. is it any wonder I’ve been taking extra precautions for Covid?
  • Rural schools in our county are shutting down because of too many covid cases.  So far the two bigger towns aren’t.  As of the reporting of the article I read about this, 1% of students in our school district are currently covid positive and 2% of the students in the school district next to ours are currently covid positive, based on parental reporting to the schools.  (How much overlap between this and what the health department reports?  Who knows.)  The schools that shut down are more like 8% out with covid.
  • Apparently a large number of my colleagues got Covid over break (according to the dean).  My department head (who didn’t even BRING a mask to our December full day meeting, though zie did take one of mine after I yelled at pretty much everyone) is still sick.  Which explains the lack of beginning of the semester emails.  I’m just surprised it took this long.  Though one of my work friends pointed out that it may be a reinfection.
  • Suddenly faculty meetings are zoom only again and not catered.  So maybe zie is taking covid seriously now?
  • You can order your 4 free at-home covid tests from USPS here.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 32 Comments »

32 Responses to “RBOCovid”

  1. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    It’s been feeling like a COVID apocalypse this month. I thought December was awful, this is even worse. Just in my personal circles, where I’m not even in touch with most because I’ve got too much going on, I’ve got at least 13 confirmed cases and 4 more suspected cases, with 3-6 more at risk from exposure. Since this started, I’ve only ever known of up to 6 cases at one time.

    The Long COVID brain fog and loss of intelligence is absolutely terrifying. I’ve never felt like a smart one but I did feel like a functional / insightful problem solver which is close enough and losing any of that, like I did post birth, would feel devastating. I already live with normal fibromyalgia brain fog which comes and goes in varying degrees and that’s hideous. I truly wonder how people can be so laissez faire about the possibility of living in brain fog for a prolonged period of time. That’s not even mentioning the other systemic issues that people are experiencing.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t even know how many people I know with confirmed cases.

      I think people don’t really think about long covid symptoms. There’s a lot of people who still think it’s just a cold. I blame the fascist conservative media.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Thank you all for this information. Getting it a second time in less than 2 months is crazy–I hope you’re right about it being a different strain. Grumpies–so sorry about your horrifying health department and not very good school.

      I only remembered about long covid problems with lungs and taste buds, not brain fog and muscle spasms.

      I also know more people than ever with covid right now. Yet the precautions being taken are basically nothing except that more people own and wear masks now and a few large events have been modified, shrunken, and/or postponed.

      And now Fauci is saying everyone’s going to get it. Not helping, Fauci! Even if I am going to get it, I’d still rather wait until hospitals aren’t so crowded and medicines aren’t so scarce–maybe there will even be better ones in the future. Fortunately a lifestyle of staying in the house all the time almost suits me.

      Hang in there everybody, and keep staying as strong as you can!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I didn’t know about the muscle spasms until reading some articles recently! DH does not want more of that. They’re scary and they will sometimes jerk him awake (sometimes they jerk me awake if I’m using him as a space heater).

  2. Mike Nitabach Says:

    You could’ve equally aptly entitled this post RBOFreedum…

  3. gwinne Says:

    Yeah…. all this.

    First, my boosted, immunocompromised sister and brother in law got COVID, presumably at hospital for procedure but I think the indoor overpopulated urgent care where they had been previously tested prior to hospital procedure is more likely! (WTF. No testing site near me operates that way.) Her oxygen levels were somehow in the 80s but she avoided hospitalization. Although timing was questionable, my family considered this ‘exposure’ and tested PCR. Neg. Then both kids kept getting exposure notices from school. We rapid tested before having two friends over on Friday for LG’s graduation (all parties neg); LG learned on Saturday that the other friend they saw on Friday (the first time in 2022, because of all the aforementioned) tested positive. LG thought maybe they had a sore throat and immediately decided to isolate from family (because teenager). And yup, by Monday positive throat swab (neg nasal). So far no one else has it. Tiny Boy tested neg on rapid and still awaiting PCR (through school); I figured it’s not worth wasting a test on me because I have no symptoms and also will not be leaving the house for any reason any time soon. (I will before I enter the population again.)

    The university is thankfully online through Jan. Will require boosters by Feb 1. Suggested wearing good quality masks but can’t mandate. I just don’t know anymore.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Go LG for protecting you all. Hope she recovers quickly.

      That’s also cool that the k-12 schools test. I think the governor used our Covid money to build a border wall. I’m not sure if I mean that as a joke or it’s true.

      We can’t require vaccines or masks. We’re getting emails daily from the university pleading for mask wearing and vaccines. Testing is still a pain. Even one site on my side of campus would help. I’m not taking the bus with a bunch of unmasked unvaccinated kids! And paying for parking is more than ordering a home test online.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Update on the apartment ordering problems: https://oaklandside.org/2022/01/18/having-problems-ordering-free-rapid-covid-19-tests-usps-apartment-buildings-bay-area/
    Apparently it’s not all apartments that are having this problem. If you do have that problem there’s a phone number to call.

  5. CG Says:

    We all got covid after traveling to see family over break. We got together with the same 15 people for 2-3 hours 3x in one week. All adults were vaxxed and boosted; the only kids were ours and they’re all fully vaxxed. Our oldest and started having symptoms shortly after we got home. Three other relatives we were with also tested positive after we all got home. No one was symptomatic while we were there so we don’t know who had it first. DH and the other two kids got it later in the week from us. We didn’t isolate anyone in our house. I’ve since heard from other families we know who did some serious isolation tactics and everyone got it anyway so I’m glad we didn’t bother. Everyone is fine, including my elderly relatives who got it too, and we didn’t give it to anyone else outside our gathering. I probably had it the worst (fever, aches, chills, weird heartburn, racing heart) but I’m fine now. I tested negative until a couple of days into having symptoms. I assumed it was a false negative and quarantined anyway. We all still tested positive on our respective Day 6, which is when our school district said the kids could go back to school. They did not go back to school. Everyone we tried tested negative on Day 9 (some of us just waited the 10 days and didn’t test again). So the 10 day quarantine is still a good idea, especially if you’re not testing. And I would trust a rapid test positive but not a negative if you’re having symptoms. And get tests when you can and save them! You never know when you’re going to need a bunch. This thing is out there…

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    DC1 had two exposures on Friday (we found out last night) and zie thinks his physics teacher (who was masked, but doesn’t always mask) said she currently has covid while teaching. (We’re like, surely you misunderstood?) Hir Spanish teacher told the classes that students have been coming back early while still covid positive because they don’t want to make up work. The physics teacher also said there’s currently 6 Covid positive teachers and two out with the really nasty stomach bug that’s been going around (I think Delegar also got it if you want more details on that). Hir English teacher is out sick, but we don’t know with what (if Covid, then that’s a likely third exposure last Friday– they don’t tell us when a teacher has exposed a class, only when a student has).

    • omdg Says:

      I doubt DC1 misunderstood. 100% the physics teacher was coming in while sick with COVID while teaching. They may have even been encouraged to do so by their boss.

  7. SP Says:

    Our local numbers were quite different (lagging) the NYTs numbers for a while, and I’m not sure what the different methodology is? It also seems that even if I report a rapid test to the health department, it isn’t counted because they can’t confirm? There must be huge undercounts. I’ve been low key looking for PCR tests (preemptively) and it does seem possible to get them here in relatively short order – but non-trivial (refresh various test sites multiple times a day rather than just schedule easily at Kaiser). During the holiday break, it seemed super hard to find testing.

    I’m hopeful that we hit our peak (waste water, and a slight curve in the case data indicates this), but cases will remain high for some time as we wait for things to taper. We’ve so far been unaffected, but a lot more people I know have had breakthrough cases.

    My brain feels foggy just from… everything. I do not want to add COVID on top of that!

  8. omdg Says:

    Things are horrible right now. I have two grants due next week, and I was just asked to pick up an additional call this weekend because other staff are sick with COVID.

    They say, “Take care of yourself,” which is a lie. They don’t give a crap about me or my health except insofar as I can still come to work and serve as a warm body to take care of the patients.

    They say, “Take care of the patients,” which they only care about because elective surgery is the way we keep the lights on at the hospital.

    They say, “Grants are lowest priority right now.” Ok… let’s see what happens when I don’t get one a year from now, and whether they elect to keep me as research faculty.

    Feedback on my materials from my coauthors is perpetually delayed. My department laid off a bunch of statisticians last year and didn’t replace them, and now acts surprised because none of the projects are able to move forward (and being lowest on the totem pole, mine are lowest priority, even though I brought grant money when I moved here). Oh! And I’m not “permitted” to do my own analyses even though I am more than capable because “that’s not how we want things to work in the department.”

    If I thought it would be better if I did anything else with my life I would be out of here. I may just quit and write a memoir about why not to go into academic medicine. Honestly, everything feels totally hopeless and I don’t even know why I’m bothering.

  9. Socal Dendrite Says:

    “It is really scary feeling less intelligent than usual when your whole identity is pinned on being one of the smart ones”. This. My physics prof husband (and the main breadwinner in our family) got very sick from a usually fairly benign virus (CMV) 6 years ago, the same year that he was due to go up for tenure. It was horrible. He had extreme brain fog as well as bouts of depersonalization/derealization and severe fatigue (could not get off the couch for months, could not even read a short book to our young kids) for a good six months. Fortunately, his department head was very understanding, even though my husband did not feel comfortable giving her all the details – you don’t really want to tell your boss you can’t think any more when that’s what your entire job is about! – and it worked out (he is still at the same uni and has tenure now) but it was terrifying. He still has chronic fatigue that affects our lives daily, but at least it’s not like that first six months. It’s still too early to tell if long Covid causes the all of those same issues but we sure as hell don’t want to risk it. Most people seem to *way* underestimate the impact of long term effects.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      So awful. And it’s really hard to diagnose something like chronic fatigue. #2 has a form of chronic fatigue but the doctors are completely mystified (it’s not any of the things that are easy to test for like low Vit D) and not all of them believe it. But like, it’s just something you can get after having a regular virus!

      • CG Says:

        One good thing about covid is that it’s highlighting “long other viruses.” I know someone who got some virus a few years ago and is now deaf in one ear because it attacked the nerves in some important part of her ear. I don’t think we’ve paid much attention to the fact that many of the viruses that circulate around can do some nasty, long term damage. I hope this helps people with such symptoms get better support and treatment.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Excellent point, though man… I’d rather it not have been a pandemic to point that out.

      • Socal Dendrite Says:

        Yes, we were “lucky” because he had clear symptoms at the start (low-grade fever and headache for weeks) so none of his doctors were dismissive (though it still took 3 months to figure out what the heck was going on). I am convinced now that many people with chronic fatigue likely had a virus that was asymptomatic or just “regular cold-type” symptoms but that had long-term effects. And so many of those people have difficulty getting taken seriously. Grrr. As CG said, one silver lining of the pandemic for us has been the huge increase in awareness and research into long-term viral issues like chronic fatigue. It’s good to be seen.

      • omdg Says:

        Also he was a man and a physicist, so that probably helped his drs take him seriously, sad to say…

      • revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

        If #2 ever wants to talk chronic fatigue, I’m her daisy! I’ve had it for about 15 years and am working through diagnostics now.

  10. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Another bullet: You may get an “expired” test from your employment or from the government. That is OK– these batches have been tested and are still good for months after the official expiration date.

  11. nicoleandmaggie Says:

  12. Matthew D Healy Says:

    Even in Chicago, where they are much better prepared and are doing the right things (such as mandating vax cards for nearly all indoor public spaces including restaurants), testing is slow and hard to get now due the sheer numbers of cases. My triple-vaxxed mother learned somebody at her table in the retirement home dining room had tested positive, but it took about 6 days to get a PCR sample collected and then several days to get the negative result. In the meantime my brother did two rapid tests, both negative, and at no point did Mom have symptoms. She finally got her negative PCR result in time to visit my nephew the night before he went off to college (at Illinois, where they are mandating both vaccines and testing). Mom was understandably annoyed at the long wait for the PCR test, and would have been really steamed if she’d been unable to see her grandson due to the delay, because she had to isolate while waiting.

  13. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Indivisible email:

    Later tonight, we expect the Senate to vote to end debate on the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act (a new combined version of our two top-priority voting rights bills). So let’s talk about what that means and our next steps in this fight.

    Tonight’s vote is the next chance for the filibuster to get in our way — and we expect exactly that to happen, with Republicans blocking the bill from moving forward. What’s different this time is we expect the Senate to take up rules reform after that happens, either heading straight into a vote to fix the filibuster or debating the idea first.

    What does this mean? Within the next few days, we will finally get every senator (including Sinema and Manchin) on the record with a vote on whether a less-than-50-year-old procedural rule is more important than our democracy.

    Today, the absolute best thing you can do to have an impact as we head into the final stretches of this fight is to keep the pressure up. Here’s how to take action right now:

    If you have a Democratic senator, call them and ask that they speak on the floor https://indivisible.org/demand-your-senator-fix-filibuster-pass-democracy-reform (or thank them for speaking out https://indivisible.org/thank-your-senator-being-champion-democracy if they already have!) in support of fixing the filibuster and passing democracy reform.

    If you’ve got a Republican senator, call the White House comment line and let President Biden know you expect him to be a champion for democracy. https://indivisible.org/red-and-purple-state-residents-tell-president-biden-be-champion-democracy https://www.whitehouse.gov/get-involved/write-or-call/ Comments: 202-456-1111

    If you’ve already made your calls and you’re still itching to do more, check out our new website for more ways to take action depending on your local political landscape. https://www.savedemocracy.org/

  14. rose Says:

    Thank you for your weekend post re acting to help save voting/democracy/etc.
    THank you for your post today re how your area is reporting data. I get grumpy about some of the reporting in some counties in my state re covid numbers….. but you made me grateful other areas in y state are doing a much better job of telling the truth in a more timely manner. I REALLY APPRECIATE ALL YOU ARE DOING AND THE TRUTH YOU ARE TELLING.

  15. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Our backlog jumped up over 500 per 100k overnight. Also the pop up site reported positives so many of these are probably late December to early January new cases.

  16. First Gen American Says:

    Just ugh. Where I live, the inequality shows in the COVID case numbers. In my well off school district, where many parents get to work from home, or stay home, etc, case rates are still low at the schools.

    In the lower income school districts, it’s a mess.

    Just one more way the poor are getting screwed over. I heard yesterday that two people got shot on the street that I grew up on…and it was the third shooting this week on that street alone. Being poor sucked so badly. The death and suffering is just never-ending. So thankful we were able to get out when we did.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: