From Frank ... | Dec 11
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
The passage above was written to me in a card by a dear friend, Martha, when I was an undergraduate. Martha was the manager at a doctor’s office in which I worked (yes, another job that I’ve held) the summer prior to going off to school. Four years later, another dear friend, Carey, had the passage done in calligraphy and framed as graduation gift. It has adorned every office wall that I’ve had in the last thirty-two years. When I see the framed passage, it warms my heart thinking about my friends, Martha and Carey, but also that I have to remain curious, even hungry and passionate, for knowledge.
This week, I’ve been pretty passionate about learning more about the state of the pandemic currently. I’ll try to summarize briefly here for you. A good place to reference is the mayor’s Situational Update. Of note, as of December 8, DC is experiencing over 40 new infections on average each day. The rate of transmission is 1.02 which means that for every person that is positive, he or she is infecting one other person on average. Unfortunately, the number of new cases from quarantined contacts is only 9.5% which means that over 90% of new cases are from those that didn’t suspect that they’d been exposed. Of particular concern is that we are at 88% for “utilization of beds at acute care hospitals.”
If you want to know more about the types of activities that lead to infections, go here and then click on either Outbreak Data or Exposure Activities. You can also see the number of positive cases by neighborhood here. You can see that our general area (of Cleveland & Woodley Park) is on the lower end of a ranking of neighborhoods by positive cases, which is obviously good.
In recent days, Virginia’s Governor Northam announced new COVID-19 restrictions. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser have not announced any new restrictions this week, but in her Situational Update. Mayor Bowser advised that “Washingtonians are strongly encouraged not to travel for the holidays and to celebrate at home with your household.”
Also in the Situational Update (page 18) our mayor outlined the phased approach to vaccines, with those over 65 considered “at-risk” and slated for Phase 1b. The same report (page 17) lists the six sites that will partner with health care providers across the city to administer the vaccines.
The bottom line is that we must keep doing what we know works: wear a mask over our mouth and nose; remain physically distant from others, and wash our hands frequently. I would add (if I could be so bold) to find a village activity or community member with whom you can stay in contact. We all need each other to get through this difficult, unprecedented time.
Finally, I’ll close with an embarrassing personal story. It’s getting cold out, I hardly see anyone except for when I walk the dog, and I hate shaving so I decided to just grow a beard. The other day, I grabbed some old beard oil (yes, there is such a thing so that one can tame his beard and not look like a porcupine.) I was rushing out the door so I quickly put on my mask and noticed a strange odor, but I was in a hurry so I just left the house. About a half an hour later, I realized that I didn’t feel well and thought I had a recurrence of vertigo. It took about two days of thinking about it and talking with my partner before I realized that the beard oil had a foul smell and likely made me sick. So, the moral of the story is to wear your mask, just skip the beard oil or anything else that you’d like not to inhale from the confines of said mask!