Life in the age of the virus – 74

Auckland is now in a lock down as they have a mysterious case of COVID-19. I don’t know anything about their vaccination plans but I do know that the AstraZeneca vials have arrived in Australia yesterday to roll out.

No vaccinations possible to inoculate us against the grossness that is the Australian Parliament right now, with sexual assault, sexual harassment and other sordid tales coming out. Disappointing but not surprising, given the environment there.

And while there were no new cases in Victoria today, straight after my last post there was an announcement of two more community infections. The news gets old fast in these coronavirus days.

The Brazilian variant has now been found in the UK, which is going to panic them even more since the risk of vaccine not working against it is pretty high. They have the best vaccination rate in the world but they also have a pretty shit situation there. They are about to come slowly out of a lock down. Can they do it this time without spiking it again?

Meanwhile it’s hard to tell if the vaccines are stopping the spread because it’s hard to measure it against other activities trying to prevent it like lock downs and mask wearing. According to a Guardian article, there have been 200 million doses distributed worldwide.

In Australia, we’ve hit well actually I’m not sure because I can’t find the information. I did find the Vaccine Tracker though, so you can check when you are eligible to get the vaccine. The only info about how many I could get was in Victoria from ABC news, where nearly 3.5 thousand have been done so far. I’m sure I heard something about it being 30,000 but I could be wrong.

Life in the age of the virus – 73

Oh whoops, we gave two old people double the dose of the vaccine. Awkward. Anyway they’re fine and that generation would just suck it up anyway and say ‘what’s all the fuss about?’. Delivered by a doctor who didn’t bother doing the training and who clearly also didn’t bother reading the label. *insert face palm*

Meanwhile the rest of Australia continues to get the jab and it’s all going well. Six days COVID-19 free for Victoria. Nearly 40 days for NSW.

Unfortunately there’s been a cluster in our NZ friend’s place, Auckland, so the bubble is suspended for anyone coming from there. Gotta love a bubble.

Weirdly the WHO site has COVID deaths for the US as 499 thousand for yesterday, which doesn’t match news reports earlier in the week about cracking the 500 k mark. Maybe I misunderstood and they were commemorating because it would happen this week?

Globally, as of 4:20pm CET, 25 February 2021, there have been 112,209,815 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,490,776 deaths, reported to WHO. (Direct from the WHO site)

Life in the age of the virus – 72

With another 1400 deaths the number tipped over half a million deaths for the US. So many families grieving over the last year. This time last year there was no deaths.

The UK continues to roll out vaccines and get excited about opening up. Friends with a health compromised child have been vaccinated yesterday. They said they feel fine so far so that is great – still watching for 48 hours for any ill effects.

In Australia the vaccine rolls out. The big presser on Sunday was great for the government but they forgot to tell the NSW Premier who’s state they were in. Whoops! Every first person get’s a big press contingent.

Meanwhile the experts are saying slow down sunshine, this isn’t the end! The same people who modeled that COVID-19 cases would start dropping from November last year are predicting a third spike due to the rise of variant viruses. Brazil, United Kingdom, South Africa and now Japan have variants that vaccine makers are working to now cover.

That means everywhere needs to be very careful when bringing back a full economy because the surge in people around each other will spike infections again.

An interesting effect has been on real estate prices in Australia. Rural areas have gone up double the amount of city prices, and city prices have gone up around 4%. Tasmania has lept up. Apparently people are moving out to rural areas because of working from home now being so prevalent. Some companies are not going back so they’ve moved to the country to have the lifestyle and still keep the city job. Now people in the country towns are priced out of their own market. It seems a bit of a bind as they are always saying come up here and live in our beautiful town. It doesn’t help that AirBnB has taken up a lot of long term rentals out of the market – something I’ve written about before.

In any case, the pandemic is shifting things in the community and I hope that some of the big things like the environment and how we live as a society and think of what new normal we might like to have gets a go.

Life in the age of the virus – 71

It’s all about vaccines, with Australia’s roll out hoping to vaccinate us all by October this year. It’s a massive undertaking but not as massive as many other countries who have a higher population.

India for example, is having issues with it’s vaccination roll out as people don’t bother showing up. According to the article I read (possibly in the Business Standard but I thought it had February dates in it), late January saw plenty of vaccines and nothing much happening. Doctors are unsure of the testing data from the vaccine and debate on if to take it. Others just don’t show up for the next jab. And some say that the virus is dropping, so they don’t need to have it now.

Meanwhile the cluster that I mentioned in ep 70 in Japan has occurred in an immigration detention centre there. Crowded conditions mean easy spread and it has infected two workers there as well. Japan has asked Pfizer to do trials on Japanese people – which makes sense and you’d hope they didn’t just trial it on Caucasians but let’s face it, probably they did. Japan has been vaccinating front line heath workers already.

The COVID-19 Olympics will be held in Tokyo this year. What a time for the Japanese! They had to dump their well past prime misogynist head for being a bit silly about his comments on women, and how it must gall him now that a former successful Olympian woman has taken his job. Tough gig though – how do you have a safe Olympics in these pandemic times? So far the rules will include masks for athletes, clapping only (no chanting or shouting) and that’s if spectators actually are allowed to attend. Decision pending on that one.

Continuing the sports theme, the controversial Australian Open tennis has finished. The Joker won, which considering his comments and previous behaviour, is not ironic but probably a little galling to me. He did not enjoy the hotel quarantine but it meant spectators so I guess you can’t have everything? The Open cost Tennis Australia $80 million to make it COVID-19 safe (including paying for hotel quarantine) and I imagine that isn’t very doable for a lot of tournaments. Djokovic does have a point that multiple quarantines before tournaments is not good for anyone’s well being.

Just ask Ursula Carlson, who spend multiple quarantines in Australia and New Zealand as she went back and forth for work. And we still haven’t seen her live yet – waiting for that show to be rescheduled. Some artists are coming back with shows but they are expensive – Tina Arena $150 for what will no doubt be an amazing show, but geez, it’s pricey!

Let’s see what happens this week in our COVID-normal times. Or are we not there yet?

Life in the age of the virus – 70

This 70th issue marks the first vaccine given in Australia. There were twenty in total to a variety of recipients including the PM and the health minister.

Meanwhile Japan has discovered a cluster of 91 cases of a new variant.

The virus wants to replicate but it can’t do it too much and kill its host.

Welcome to 2021.

Life in the age of the virus – 69

As Rick from the Young Ones would say – 69…ooooh errrrr

And many Victorians are possibly rejoicing in the way of the 69 after lock down ended today. Officially they can go outside for any reason!

There is criticism of the hotel quarantine system but it’s probably done pretty well considering the remit. The issue is probably around private companies running things to make a profit, and therefore skimping on PPE and enforcing the rules. It highlights the casualisation of the workforce when people have to work in multiple jobs to make ends meet. Of course the profiteers are surfacing, wanting to build complexes for quarantine and get juicy government contracts. Time will tell what ends up happening. How long will hotel quarantine go on?

Australia has the vaccine – it arrived this week and it will apparently be rolled out next week. The ACT local government is hoping to do 1000 per week – which doesn’t sound that much really but I suppose it is? The lovely wife will be in line as a health worker – she isn’t that keen on it but it will be required for her to enter locations where her clients are, so the choices are limited.

Talk about a project management logistics conundrum to solve – transporting and storing it all over the country. As a PM it definitely interests me!

Our friends in the US are at 480,000 deaths, so not too much longer for a half a million deaths there alone.

I read something in an article today that talked about the trauma of COVID not leaving because the vaccine is here and we can all get back to work. As I’ve been sheltered from it, it took me a minute to realise that lots of people (imagine in the US and UK for example) have lost loved ones, or have long COVID and ongoing health issues. The grief from losing someone is bad enough, but the limitations of comforting your dying relative in COVID times is really going to cause some issues. No last touch or kiss goodbye. No seeing the person you love laid out so you can make peace.

And although I haven’t talked about the human toll for a little bit, it has not left my mind. Still extremely grateful to be in Australia and in a region with no local transmissions, living my life pretty normally since the first countrywide lock down lifted. Only the occasional blip. Only thinking forward of things like travel that might be impacted by a sudden lock down or border closure. It is luck and I am grateful.

On another note – I just tried to send an email to a lovely Seattle elderly lady we met on our 2017 trip and kept in touch. The email got rejected, and it’s definitely the right one. We haven’t corresponded since the end of March last year when I checked in on her with the onset of the pandemic. I doubt this means anything good but we may never know. Whatever is happening, I hope she is OK.

Life in the age of the virus – 68

This edition starts with the letter L for lock down. The Holiday Inn cluster has now grown to 14 (edit: 16 actually) and a five day lock down was called on Thursday night to allow contact tracers to catch up as potential infection spots started to mount up. The airport, bakeries, grog shops…All of Victoria is included in the lock down due to someone infected travelling regionally.

They are thinking that the cause of the outbreak was an infected person in hotel quarantine with a nebuliser, which takes one COVID-19 droplet and manufactures a bunch of new infected droplets. FAB.

Don’t worry though because the tennis is considered essential and is continuing, albeit without the crowds. They were unceremoniously ejected from court side before midnight on Thursday so they wouldn’t be in breach of the lock down. Funnily enough some people protested the lock down. It will certainly hurt on florists biggest few days of the year. Happy Valentines! Plenty of jokes about men being ‘sad’ about all the plans they now don’t have to make.

This is the reaction because this is the UK MUTANT strain and is more infectious and apparently more deadly than vanilla COVID.

Trump did not get impeached which is almost as terrible as the US response to COVID during his presidency.

NZ has had another death with the last person infected dying in hospital.

People who could have been taken by COVID (as above) lived while people who looked after orphans died. This disease is so shit – much like cancer it is indiscriminate.

In other random news, a US Marine is in hospital after testing positive. He’s here because of exercises in Darwin and arrived with 200 others but apparently has no ‘close contacts’. Sure sure.

No new locally acquired cases in NSW or QLD.

Meanwhile the WHO review of Wuhan and where all of this started has been a little inconclusive. It is MOST LIKELY to have been of animal origin and MAY have been spread by frozen food. They were there from 11 January and released the report on 9 February and admitted they didn’t really find out anything they didn’t know before, but have more details.

And just because the Chinese people and anyone visiting can take a little more beating – more outbreaks there by the way – the Chinese government have introduced a new testing regime that includes anal swabs. ANU medical expert says – and I’m paraphrasing – mmmmmm not sure what that’s really going to achieve…

Beijing has banned all mass gatherings as Luna New Year passes and other regions of China are trying to manage outbreaks by encouraging people to stay at home.

Here in our humble home, we still coast alongside the COVID-19 pandemic chaos of other areas of the country and other countries. I feel lucky and grateful for this peace but like Victoria this week or WA last week or NSW before Christmas, it doesn’t take much or long for things to escalate.

Life in the age of the virus – 67

Look, let’s get number 67 over with by saying it’s all about the vaccine, DAAAHLING and move on. Vaccine passports. Vaccine records. Vaccine rollouts. Just bloody everywhere. Let’s hope it works!

Tennis is beginning again tomorrow with the Australian Open finally on. Sure, yay, whatever but people are still dying in their thousands and the Super Bowl is also on and I’m not sure why the tennis is such a big deal.

Spain is today’s country of focus and it has had a third wave and hit over 61,000 deaths in the last year. Unfortunately the latest mutant strain has reached it’s shores so they are quite worried it’s going to spike everything up again. In a distraction from the main game, a news site reports that Rosario and Fernando tied the knot in hospital with rings and a video linked priest. Let’s hope they make it out of hospital for their honeymoon.

Australia has only six cases countrywide at the moment so we should all be feeling pretty bloody lucky.

The food roundabout

I’ve just reread a post from February last year. I was doing a food reset fast that didn’t go too well and then went to intermittent fasting that also didn’t go too well and choc free February that went pretty well.

So I’m doing choc free February again because I like a challenge and I find it so interesting how unconsciously I eat chocolate. Six days in and I’m eating chocolate peanuts at a party and someone else had to say ‘Tanya, you’re eating chocolate!!’ Thank you B, you saved me there. I still had a few nibbles so not sure how I’m going to make that up, if I even feel the need to.

I’m sure I could pull a list of all the posts I’ve done when I’ve either talked about my food fight or body image issues or food related issues or food trials. I’m not going to, you can just search for terms in my blog and find them. However it goes to show how ongoing this whole shindig – food related body shaming.

It’s a regular feature for many (if not most) women in some shape or form. Society has taught us to despise ourselves, our bodies and how they look, regardless of what they can do. For example, my body can do gardening and mad sex as well as play Candy Crush. Pretty good huh!

I’m trying to remember that this is a journey of fifty years and it ain’t over yet.

In the meantime I want to not feel virtuous for eating fruit and shameful for eating something sweet and sugary that’s not fruit. I want to not judge everything that goes into my mouth and have the running commentary on it all the time. I self censor what I say out loud a lot because I don’t want to be saying food is good or bad. It’s just food. I just want it to be ‘just food’. That I can savour and enjoy and then move on.

Anyway, I’m doing choc free February not because I’m trying to lose weight or feel better about myself. I’m doing it because it’s a challenge and I think it’s important to challenge yourself sometimes.

Wishing all the happiness the Universe can bring,

Fat Mum

Most people in my family are fat. Not my Dad or my grandpa but most of the women and some of the men.

I’ve been reading and listening to a lot on fatphobia lately and finding it revealing and interesting.

The lovely wife and I were chatting today about how society makes children be repulsed by their own mother’s bodies by promoting the perfect Mum (who is never fat). Fat Mums do not appear in advertising and I’m thinking quite generally here, but there aren’t a lot of nice fat Mums in movies either.

Fat Mums are to be despised because ‘how could you do that to your children’?

Fat Mums are always going on ridiculous diets and so their children get to know that yes, their fat Mum is a bad person who is unhealthy and selfish. Diets never work for very long and are often disordered eating – cabbage soup diet anyone? Keto – no fruit and half the veg but eggs and bacon aplenty, according to a fat Mum I know. She did lose some weight but she’s still fat. And still trying to make amends and excuses even though she’s a perfectly good Mum – actually extra good because she is an adoptive one – even if she is fat.

I’m fat. I’m a Mum and I’ve definitely felt the pressure to not be fat so my kid doesn’t see a bad example of how to live. It’s stupid and annoying and why should I waste my time? My kid is fat too. She is that way because of hormones and drugs and probably because she has two fat Mums (yes, the ex is fat too).

Society pressures every woman to be a certain size and shape (and colour) and if you’re not, then you MUST aspire to this otherwise how can you live with yourself? Have you no PRIDE?

But even Lizzo get’s the blues and it’s hard to be fat positive all the time. I imagine the trolls are pretty shit, not to mention the internalised trolls that tell us to hate ourselves if we don’t look a certain way. Even skinny women feel fat though, which is annoying and sad at the same time. Annoying because duh, how could they think that and sad because they think that.

I don’t know what the answer is to my fatness but I know it’s not all about food and exercise. The body holds trauma and we are all constantly stressed so the body holds the energy to fight or flight. If only there was a magic pill to solve that all, we could all be whatever size we ended up and not worry about it.

And here’s part of the problem…

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring,