Face Masks – When and Where to Wear (‘Rona #23)

Wearing a Face Mask. This is still a matter of choice in many parts of the world, though there are places that have made it mandatory under certain circumstances. There does seem to be agreement that home made masks will not block the entry of a virus. These masks might, however, reduce virus spread by asymptomatic carriers. The effectiveness depends on the mask material, how well it fits, and the competence of the user. Social distancing is still considered to be the best way to prevent the virus from spreading.

The best article I have found to date, that discusses masks, is this one: Understanding Health Canada’s advice about Wearing Masks in Public. (Read the Author’s About page if you would like to know Blair King’s credentials.) He discusses Conscientious Mask Wearers, Conscientious Non-Mask Wearers, and Non-Conscientious Mask Wearers.

Wear a mask when you can’t social distance but when in public at a safe social distance it is just as safe to not wear masks. To be clear, if you see me on a bus; I will be wearing a mask. If the store asks me to wear a mask; I will wear a mask because that is store policy. But in situations where I can safely social distance, I will follow our health professionals’ advice and keep my hands to myself while keeping a safe social distance and not wear a mask.
– Blair King, Understanding Health Canada’s advice about wearing masks in public

Of course, this is one man’s opinion and it might not mesh with everything you have read in your preferred mass media or what your friends tell you on social media. So be it. Mask wearing is still a choice in most situations. It is not the right or responsibility for any of us to comment on or shame others for the choice they have made. (This topic is discussed at ‘Behind the Mask’ at the blog ‘A Life Well Lived’.)

I’ll end this with a story that shows how hard it is to know what to believe these days – even when you get information ‘straight from the horses mouth’!

When we were getting ready to drive from Arizona to Alberta, I read mass media stories about states closing their borders. So I researched the entry/exit rules for the three states we would be driving through – Utah, Idaho and Montana. Each state website talked about 14 day quarantines if you entered the state, but that didn’t apply to visitors who were only going to drive through the state. Overnight stays were allowed too, as long as they weren’t in parks that had been closed. We were good to go for that part of the trip.

Then there was the Canadian website (returning Canadians without symptoms section). It said “You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while traveling to the place you will quarantine (self-isolate). Go directly to your place of quarantine, without stopping anywhere, and stay there for 14 days.”

Hmmm. We had our own vehicle, we had masks… but why would we need to wear them in our car for a 4 hour drive? What if we needed gas or a bathroom break?

Fortunately, the people who write these things aren’t the people who greet you at the border and let you into the country. It was a normal border crossing, with a short discussion about Covid and some questions about where we were going to stay during quarantine. Last, but not least, we were told we MUST put on a mask IF we had to stop before we got home.

So, which mask type are you?

All My Virus Posts (and lots of funny things) are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.

Sitting Duck (‘Rona #22)

There is a rock (glacial erratic) in the field behind our property. It is about the size of a small house and is a favourite resting spot for many species of birds. This year the coveted ‘peak’ is being hotly contested by a group of male mallard ducks, a pair of Canada Geese, some magpies and a hawk.

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
– Douglas Adams –

The hawk seems to be at the top of the pecking order, though I haven’t seen what happens if the hawk were to challenge the Canada Geese. I think the Geese would win.

At any rate, the ducks make me think of the term ‘Sitting Duck’. Most of the time that is what they do after they have established which duck goes where. Watching them, and the bird power-plays, was ever so easy to do during our 14 days of Canadian Covid quarantine.

A few days after the quarantine ended, we visited our doctor for our semi-annual tune up. His advice – don’t be fearful, social distance, wash hands – but venture out into the world to do things as the lock downs are lifted. He explained that though we are in a higher risk age group, we do not have the comorbidities that would make us ‘sitting ducks’. After 2 months of being relatively isolated, we could, however, face a downward spiral in health if we stay in lock-up. (Staying at home and waiting for a vaccine is not a preferred lifestyle choice, in his opinion.)

In Canada, as in many countries, the Covid ‘sitting ducks’ were the frail elderly. Almost 70% of those who died in hospitals in Canada were over the age of 80. 95% of the deaths in hospital were people over the age of 60. (Worldwide, the death rate in many countries tells a similar story).

Many of the elderly were living in seniors facilities that were in lock-down mode, but the essential service care-givers apparently brought the virus in.

But all the wonderful protocols on paper cannot mask some of the persistent challenges in care facilities, chief among them residents’ great vulnerability to infection because of their underlying health conditions, and their intense dependence on staff such as personal support workers, who can be vectors for transmission. Complicating the response is that many workers juggle shifts between various facilities and their pay and benefits are so abysmal that they are reluctant to take time off if they are sick.
– The Globe and Mail –

We still have one aged relative in ‘lock down’ mode in a seniors housing complex. Her stories give me the renewed ambition to never give in to suggestions from family members to move into one of those places (in the hopefully distant future) …

The Covid memes have slowed down to a trickle, but here are a few of the most recent ones.

Today’s Weather?  Room temperature.

 

All My Virus Posts (and lots of funny things) are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.

Quarantine – on the Home Stretch

We’ve finished day 10 of the 14 days of Covid quarantine (mandated by Canada when we came home from Arizona.) While it is good to be back on the acreage in time to watch the first green things pop out of the ground, it is a bit challenging to not even be able to go pick up the mail!

The Car Guy decided the best way to get groceries was to order on line and have home delivery. This has worked very well. A ‘personal shopper’ texts us as they shop. They let us know if anything isn’t available. The only downside is that The Car Guy has managed to order a few things in a far greater size than we would normally buy… this jar of peanut butter will last us for a very long time!

Peanut Butter

The big 1 Kg size.

Filter

Topaz Studio

Do you notice anything unusual about the position of the photos? They are side by side – and the text is beside the photos, rather than below it. This is just one of the features of the WordPress.com block editor. I had never used it before, but thought it might be prudent to at least know what it can do before the day comes that the WordPress Classic Editor disappears.

Here are some other things I’ve learned to do. I can add a separator (the line below) and make it narrow or wide – in any colour I like.


I can add an image and give it a rounded style. This is in a two column block again.

I can add a calendar of my sites’ posts:

March 2021
S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

I can add a gallery of photos. I can choose the size of the images and how many columns I want them to be in.

This is a Drop Cap. I will have to resist the temptation to overuse this feature. I already use too many exclamation marks! I also like dashes – though I’m never sure when I should use an ‘en’ dash or an ’em’ dash.

Now I’ve got three columns. The middle one is the list block. The last column is the quote block.

  • I can choose alignment
  • I can make the type bold
  • I can add some color

this is a quote – I don’t want the red line, but I don’t know how to get rid of it.

Slow going. It took me most of the evening to write this post!

What say you if you are a WordPress Blogger? Do you use the Classic WordPress Editor or the new Block Editor? What feature do you think is the coolest?

It’s OK to Be All Three (‘Rona #21)

We now know so much more about this virus than we did just four months ago! The secret to the viruses success in replicating in humans is that it often causes no symptoms or very mild ones. It is a different story, however, for the elderly and anyone with significant health issues. In many countries, this population accounts for a high percentage of deaths.

With this knowledge, and the emerging problems of those who don’t have job security, many countries are in the process of lifting restrictions.

Moving on – here are some more light hearted covid moments AND rumblings of dissatisfaction from society.

Barrel of Monkeys was a game released by Lakeside Toys in 1965. Nurses have repurposed the monkeys to hold the elastic on their face masks!

Nurses who have longer hair are tying it up into two Princess Leia buns. They slip the face mask elastics over the buns. My daughter is a nurse but her hair is very sparse due to the chemo she received when she was younger. Her friend has made her headbands with a button on each side to attach the elastic to!

Asian Giant Hornets have recently been found in the Pacific Northwest. They are being called murder hornets because they attack honey bees.

The City of Ottawa, Ontario gets points for the funniest sign using the Monty Python Silly Walk.

Many of the bloggers I follow have written ‘rumbling’ posts. Fear of the virus is being replaced by fear for those who have not been able to shelter in place without having significant health and job issues.

We can only live in this bubble for so long. Then we are ceasing to live at all…if we are going to live in a free society, we will never be able to account for everything. We bake the risk of mobility into our lives. And while I am not arguing AT ALL with some extra safety measures during this time of fact finding and figuring out what the hell is going on. And while I am heart-broken by any news of even ONE death or serious illness, there comes a time when we have to take a deep breath (full of contaminated air) and walk out the front door into life again.
– Regie Hamm, Bubble People

… to beat this thing we have to help each other find joy in a time of sorrow and we need to find little happy moments in a time of confinement. Spending time with our neighbours isn’t wrong and having a beer on my driveway hurts no one… It also means fighting the activists, the new puritans and the petty bureaucrats working hard to erode the social license.
– Blair King, How new puritans, petty bureaucrats and irresponsible activists risk eroding the public will necessary to fight Coronavirus

I wonder how we will look through the lens of time. Will we look like people who cowered in fear? Will we look like people who sacrificed for the needs of others? Will we look like people who were discerning and had wisdom? Will this just be a blip in the timeline of our world or will this so change our world that we no longer recognize it? Will we be judged on our lack of ability to listen, really listen to someone who had a different opinion than us?
– The Chicken Grandma – Questions Without Answers

Not So Close Contact (‘Rona #20)

My Birthday gift from some of the family.

If you only read my posts for the funny Covid memes, scroll down the page. If you want to read about our Canadian Snowbird trip home, start here:

The Car Guy and I (and Wanda, our little SUV) finished the three day drive from Arizona to Alberta. Yes, we threw off the hot comforter of Arizona (at 103F) and ventured forth into the world of long haul truckers, four lane black top, truck stops and fast food. It was one of the easiest, fastest and least stressful trips we have taken.

We took along face masks, but quickly decided that social distancing and hand washing would keep us, and anyone near us, probably safe (there are no guarantees in life…)

How Safe? Well, Covid is spread by Close Contact for a certain length of time. How close is close? The World Health Organization (WHO), The CDC and Health Canada say 6 feet (2 arms length or 2 metres).

As for period of time (with social distancing), there is general agreement that there is low risk of infection for brief encounters of a few minutes or less; increased risk as the exposure time increases; the most risk after a few hours. The risk is far less if the person is simply breathing, more if they are talking, and even more if they cough or sneeze. All agree that your best defence is to social distance and wash your hands with soap and water.

As for masks, the CDC says, “Wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission” (which were none of the areas we were stopping in.) Health Canada says  “Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering while out in public is optional.”

What we found out there in the ‘real’ world was – there were relatively few people out and about, other than truckers who by nature seem to social distance; truck stop staff were either masked or behind clear screens; extra clean restrooms; all dining is done in your own vehicle or motel room;  and the motels were almost empty (in Cedar City Utah and Butte Montana).

Crossing into Canada was uneventful. It took a bit longer to listen to the Covid advice, but the border agent was maskless, the distance between the agent and us was as normal,  and the process was the same as always. The agent told us we had to go directly home and self-isolate, but acknowledged that if we had to stop for fuel or bathroom break, we should just put on a mask.

The day after we arrived in Alberta, some provinces and states began to open up some business and some recreation. The Times They are A-changin’ and with it, hopefully the fear-fueled stories spread by mass and social media will diminish. We know so much more about Covid-19 now. People are, and will continue to revolt against management by fear if governments don’t replace that with management by knowledge, hope and common sense.

As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’
– Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-changin’ –

In keeping with the toilet paper theme (see photo above), here are the remaining toilet paper memes. People have milked this for all it is worth, I think.

 

All My Virus Posts are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.

Carry the One (‘Rona #19)

It will be very interesting to see what the state of education is when all the kids finally return to school! How long will it take for teachers to absorb all the interesting ‘old school’ concepts that kids were exposed to when the parent or grandparent was the teacher!

For example, how long ago did you learn arithmetic – how to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers?

In my day, addition used a concept that is now called Column Math. Numbers were ‘stacked’ on top of each other. First you added the numbers in the far right column… well, you probably know the rest about what gets carried over to the next column.

Going Home (‘Rona #18)

It is that time of the year when Canadian Snowbirds make the return journey to their northern homes. Our home is in Alberta. When we get there, we will be required to quarantine for two weeks. It will be far more restrictive than our Covid experience in Arizona. At our Bland Beige AZ house, there are miles and miles of community streets and a wilderness park to walk in. We have had lots of opportunities to visit with neighbours by simply stopping to chat to people from a safe distance across the street. There have been no Covid cases in our zip code. No one wears masks when they are out and about in the community.

What is your Covid experience?

Eating, Masking, Clothing (‘Rona #17)

In this meme roundup, I’ve got some more face masks; also the popular topic of eating and drinking – and how it causes clothes to shrink.

I can vouch for the reality of this bacon ‘face mask’. My youngest daughter loves bacon AND is a nurse who has to wear a face mask at work. This is her version of ‘having your cake and eating it too’ – a tasty fun way to have breakfast!

I don’t know anyone who has made this chair, but I do know any number of people who would think this was a great idea – and would build one that was much more comfortable.

This one made me take a closer look at the inside of my microwave… and yes, I gave it a real good cleaning.

Talk to the Animals (‘Rona #16)

When the going gets tough, people look to their dogs and cats for comfort… okay, they look to their dog for comfort. Some cats might be good ‘fuzz therapy’, but some cats – not so much. In Twitter speak: #dogsduringlockdown #catsofthequarantine

A Field Guide – From the Dog to the Human who has started barking at things outside…

 

All My Virus Posts are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.

Yes, You Can. No, You Can’t (‘Rona #15)

Are you confused about what you can do and can’t do during the Covid-19 pandemic? If so, here is a most brilliant description from the Curmudgeon At Large:

1. Basically, you can’t leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can.
2. Masks are useless. But they will protect you. They can save you, no they can’t. They’re useless, but wear one anyway. Now they’re mandatory. Maybe. Or maybe not.
3. Stores are closed, except for the ones that are open.
8. Animals are not affected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested yet, and a tiger – and one really deadly but also possibly fictional but very sick bat.
9. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms.
The remaining 22 items are at Coronavirus Clarity by the Curmudgeon at Large

 

All My Virus Posts are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.