Good new Eco-wariors, this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day 2020 is still on, but with Covid-19 necessary adjustments. Each state will of course decide how to best make these adjustments, but here in California, the event is being spread out over several Saturdays instead of just one, and the number of locations has been increased to allow for more social distancing.
Each year people come together to help clean our beaches, parks, shorelines, and coastal shallows. With an ever increasing amount of plastics, and other garbage, entering the oceans every year, this endeavor is more important that ever. Luckily, even the Coronavirus can’t stop dedicated individuals from doing their part, especially now that there won’t be the danger of large groups congregating together while they do it.
For details about how your local Coastal Clean Up is going to work this year, just do a search for what’s going on in your state, if you live in California though, you can just look here for the California website.
Yet again the current administration has quietly put through another order meant to hinder the spread of information regarding something of vital importance. This time it was the Coronavirus.
According to a just published article on the NY Times website, the White House has now sent out instructions to hospitals that all Covid data is to be pushed through to a central office in DC, and not to the CDC, as it normally would be. Will future data at least be shared with the CDC in its entirety? Only time will tell. (Use the link below to read what they found in the NY Times article). When you start to think about other similar steps that have been take at various other times when those actions mostly benefit someone’s re-election campaign, this all becomes even more concerning, especially since it seems to have been done so covertly.
Considering what’s at stake, this can’t be allowed to stand as is. Sadly it seems that there might have been a useful side to Coronavirus after all, as it might turn out to be one of the only things powerful enough to actually pull back that curtain, and expose the current location of Big Brother for us all to see. The question now is will enough people even bother to look.
Ask anyone (including your dog), and they’ll tell you that we’re living in strange times. A world-wide pandemic, protests, locust swarms on multiple continents, and a massive dust cloud are sadly but a few of the issues we’re all facing right now. Social isolation is the key we’re told, to group survival; and to be fair, past pandemics have proven this to be true. Yet, the oddest thing of all, is that with all of our technology we started out thinking we wouldn’t truly be isolated at all.
A couple of months was all it took to show us the falseness of that techno promise, but hey, it’s not the computer’s fault that zooming just isn’t the same as hanging out. We’re now being reminded of how much real connections matter.
Things will, no doubt, continue to rapidly change over the next several months. What legacy this pandemic will leave us with is anyone’s guess, but one thing that is odder still, is that one thing it apparently won’t leave is a song.
Oh, I know various artist are already writing up a storm about life during Corona, but what I’m talking about is the childrens’ songs that past pandemic have inspired. For example, the Spanish Flu had a jump roping song about “a bird named Enza,” and as they opened the door “in flew enza.”. Even the Black Death inspired a song. You may have heard of it, it was called “Ring around the Rosie.”
However, here we are, several months into this ‘experience,’ and not so much as a hummed tune yet to be heard. Is it just too soon? Will later reflection show that a song did come about after all? I guess we’ll see, but until then, go play with your dog. This whole Covid thing is so stressful for him too, now that it turns out dogs and cats can catch it as well. Man, what a weird disease, what ever will the future lyrics even sound like I wonder?
With the exception of a few centenarians, this week’s events surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak are probably rather new for most people. This will undoubtedly change the way we all live our lives for the at least the near future, and just like pandemics before it, Corona will most likely leave a lasting impression on various aspects of the world in which we all interact. The best thing to do right now is to remain calm, and remember that this will eventually run its course (evidence is that it’s already on the decline in China and South Korea). In the meantime many of us are suddenly finding yourself on an unexpected Coronavirus staycation. Once you get over the annoyance, and craziness of it all (try transitioning 5 college classes onto an online format in a week, and you too will be feeling frantic), you will then find yourself with at least a little bit of free time, if only because you won’t be spending so much time commuting to work.
So what do you do with yourself during this time to avoid succumbing to cabin fever? Here are 10 suggestions for the best ways to take advantage of this time at home. The first half have to do with practical things you NEED to do, and the second half is the dessert, that you’ll WANT to do. If you have any other suggestions not listed below, please feel free to add a comment, after all, we’re all in this together.
Adulting 101 – Covid-19 style:
1) Do your Taxes! That’s right folks, taxes are one of the two things that are guaranteed. Despite politicians talking about possibly postponing that April 15th deadline, so far it hasn’t happened. So, make sure to get a jump on this, especially if your worried you might get Corona, as you really won’t want to be looking for your W-2’s once you have a fever.
2) Take stock of your life. I don’t mean from a metaphysical standpoint. I’m referring to the practical things, like do you, or your spouse know what to do if one of you gets sick? Howe about your parents, what are their wishes? Even if you’re single, plan now for what will happen to your pets if you wind up in the hospital. It’s the type of stuff we never want to think about, but like it or not, now’s the time to get your affairs in order!
3) Take stock of your cupboards. Hopefully the panic buying will end soon, but just in case, make sure you know what you absolutely need, and what you can hold off on buying. With greater focus you can better seek out where to find what you still need, because you’ll know what part of the store to hit first, or perhaps what you can find through online retailers instead. Also, you’re not prepping for war people, fresh fruits and vegetables should still be part of what you buy!
4) Take stock of your medicine cabinet. With the weird run on paper towels, it seems that most people for some reason have forgotten about the medicines that they might need even more. Check on your prescriptions, and over-the-counter type meds (cough syrup, etc.), and then check with your doctor or pharmacy about the possibility of getting them mailed to you instead.
5) Catch up with those you care about. Haven’t talked to your old college buddy in a while, or e-mailed your cousin since their last birthday? Now’s a good time to check on everyone, especially anyone that you may have inadvertently lost contact with. This can be especially important for elderly relatives that might need help. With more and more people potentially finding themselves isolated for longer periods than they’ve ever experienced before, reaching out via phone, e-mail, skype, or even text can make a world of difference.
Now for the fun stuff!– Even if you’re still working on 1-5, make sure to occasionally take a break, and de-stress.
6) Finally read that book you’ve been trying to fit in. We all have that novel, mystery, or romance that we’ve got sitting near our beds. Find it, dust it off, and finally crack that spine. If you can’t get out into the real world, you might as well escape into a fictional one.
7) Stream to your hearts content. What, you got something better to do. Well, ok, maybe you’re still working on numbers 1-5, but everyone needs a break now and then. This is especially true with all that is going on right now. Take a night off, ignore the news, and just binge watch your favorite movies or TV shows. A little innocent fun never hurt anyone. All you need to do is try to remember what that pesky password is.
8) Start to plan how your garden will grow. Even in the warmest states, it’s a bit too soon to actually plant a garden, but it’s actually the perfect time to prep for, and plan one out. No one says you can’t go out into your own yard, or patio/balcony. So it’s totally ok to start clear out the old plants (if you haven’t already), scrub out pots, pull any new weeds, and add soil nutrients as needed. Don’t forget that even if the outside weather isn’t optimal for planting, you can always start some of your garden inside by planting seeds. Watching them sprout can also give you, and your family, something to look forward to. Nothing reminds you that life goes on better than watching something grow.
9) Learn something new. There are so many ways to do this, especially with the help of online resources. DIY resources abound (ex: need to patch up something in your house, YouTube examples of how-to). You can also take free classes on topics you’ve always been interested in. Check out your local library’s website for some free options they might offer (many have free online programs to help you learn a new language, such as Mango or Babble). You can also check out Coursera online directly for their list of free classes, or just do a google search for anything you might want to learn (such as a craft or skill).
10) Enjoy your world, virtually. You can do this via video games of course, including the intellectually based one like Lumosity. However, do to so many people having to self quarantine around the world, several institutions that have been made to close their doors, are now inviting the public into their virtual spaces instead. Many major museums around the world already had some virtual tours online, but many more are going online right now. Even some music options are opening up online, as some tours get canceled the groups are choosing to interact with their fans online via free virtual concerts. Even a major philharmonic in Germany has now opened their performances for free viewing online. Most of these institutions, or groups, are waiving their normal subscription fees until at least the end of March. Just because you’re stuck inside physically, doesn’t mean your mind can’t take a journey of discovery instead.
Which ever choices you make to fill your time, good luck everyone, and please stay safe!
With the current worry about the Corona Virus showing up in more and more countries, it is important to educate yourself about what is truly useful health advise, and what is not. The best option is to always turn to the experts if you can. However, if you can’t speak to your local doctor right away, there is always the CDC’s website, which has a dedicated section just for the Corona virus (aka COVID-19). Since most people here in the US aren’t currently dealing with actual infections yet, most people will probably be most concerned with the page on “Prevention & Treatment.”
One of the most relevant parts of the site, for anyone who is currently trying to prepare by purchasing facemasks, would probably be this section:
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
The run on supplies that recently took place in China, sadly seems to have been made up of mostly useless purchases. True, it probably makes people feel better to be wearing a mask, but if they’ve purchased a standard dust-mask, it most likely won’t do them much good. Remember that COVID-19 is a virus, not a bacteria. Don’t get tricked into buying anything (especially on-line) that claims to block all diseases, because that claim is most likely inaccurate, or outright false. Also, please don’t think that it will grant you immunity, or act as an impenetrable shield. Nothing is foolproof, least of all a thin paper/cloth mask.
As stated on the CDC’s website, there is a valid reason to use them, but it’s mostly to help prevent you from spreading the disease to others; not to help you avoid getting it from them. If you fear you might find yourself in a situation where you risk exposure, sure, having a mask on can’t hurt. However, the better option would probably be to avoid that situation instead, if at all possible that is.
Plus, no matter what, its always a good idea to regularly wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes. No need to actually deliver the virus to your own face, if you can help it. For updates, and more info on the Virus, please make sure to check the CDC’s website. With any luck, this thing will burn itself out soon, and we can all go back to worrying about our taxes instead. Hey, no one said being an adult would be fun.