Beauty in small, everyday things Helps you put everything into perspective. Champs-Élysées has the almost unreal beauty of a dream, Two cherry threes are in blossom in front of a bookstore, The ghosts from inside books’ pages came out in their smart or funny clothes, To stare at the pink metaphors of human existence…..
Immersed in an odd silence, I walk, Looks like a pedestrians’ strike. It feels viscerally wrong, My thoughts of “solastalgia” Bounce on stacked bistro chairs and abandoned happy-hour menus. A statue wearing a mask reminds me that The current despoliation is unrelated to the rain or any ecological crisis, And I touch my pocked to feel the antiseptic immediacy.
Generally, I feel fine, Until a drone stops above my head and a voice from inside yells at me “We are at war!” I am not sure if I should run or greet the voice inside the drone, And with unexpected new awkwardness I blow it a kiss, Only to remember that there is a ban on air-kissing too.
I walk faster, Rethinking my trip to go get bread on a sea of extreme waves: Happiness from seeing the cherry trees and the ghosts under, Sadness over the streets devoid of much life, And anxiety from the pandemic.
Note: I wrote this in March, when France was in quarantine. Much has changed in Paris(and the world!) since then…
I opened my computer this morning, as I do every morning, and I read the news. In California, where I live, several news outlets reported on our struggle against coronavirus.
Great! We’re fighting, but how are we fighting?
The news, which mirror the national news, keep talking about all the negative things that this crisis has brought up. But what makes it striking, is that none of these problems are new and it is bothersome to see that over and over again we go through the same scenarios.
Here are few subjects:
Costs are up. There will be financial cuts. Brace yourselves.
Unemployment. Brace yourselves. Ok, we are bracing but what happened with the 2 trillion and now another 2.3 trillion injected in the economy?
Health system inadequacy. No ventilators. Lack of coordination between state and federal, or at least that’s what we keep hearing from the media.
You can add more to the list of bad situations that we all are facing. And I am not speaking only for California or for the US, but this is what is happening in the entire world.
Why do we hear these negative things over and over again? Are we living in a hopeless world? What needs to be changed in the current situation to be better?
As a regular person, are you required to do well on your job? Yes. If you do not perform well what does it happen? You need to do better or you’re fired. Or you’re just fired.
What happens in our societies is a paradox.
Politics fail. The ones in power keep going. People complain. The problems keep perpetuating. Media keeps fueling us with their agendas. We listen or we stop listening. They keep going.
These failures are not only characteristic for the coronavirus world crisis. They have become a mode of life.
I am not and I do not want to be a financial analyst. I can be a political analyst as I have an education that stands for it. But in this situation, I do not want to be a political analyst either.
I am a human. Just like you, just like all of us. I consider myself equal with the poor and equal with the rich. We all live on this planet.
I want us all to live in a society where we would wake up in the morning and say: this is a great day, I am going to do my job, do it well and then I will enjoy myself. And while we are doing this day by day, I want us to feel safe, I want us to feel cared for. I don’t want us to feel used, betrayed or disappointed. I want the sense of unity, and belief that the founding fathers have built this country upon. I want this for us and for the whole world.
SO: Stop telling us: there are no ventilators. Do your job and manufacture and bring what is needed it. Fight for it and do it. Stop telling us that we are in a terrible budget chasm. Stop telling us you are cutting money from education and other needed programs. There is money, a lot of money, both at the sate and federal level. Stop complaining. Go do your job and distribute them wisely. Stop pointing fingers at each other. I’m tired to constantly hear that this politician didn’t do well, that the other is like this and like that. Go work as a team and if the team doesn’t work then make it work. If you were elected in an office, honor your job…..just like the teacher honors his, just like the doctor honors his….and so on. Stop the BS!
Something needs to be done.
If you have a place in front of your house that looks like a swamp and it smells bad, what do you do? There are two options:
You get your working suit on, and even if it’s exhausting you go dig trenches and work to make that place better and then plant flowers
Close the windows to your house so you don’t feel the bad smell.
The world seems to have stopped, Stopped its murmur, Everyone stuck in their homes Seem to be dancing on a flat line tune.
The unexpected has happened, Your knuckles are going white from clenching down on the arms of your chair, As you watch your world that has swallowed a virus, Turning into a place that looks as the realm of soulless.
The empty streets in New York Square, The empty canals in Venice, Makes you think that every other soul on this planet Has lost its sparkle, That every other child stuck in the house Has lost his rosy cheeks….
But behind each door with a broken handle, Stands a man, or a woman, or a child, Writing and constructing their own plot lines. It simply depends where you focus your eyes, To see that there is love, there is strength, there is hope.
Stuck in your chair, Look up to the starts in the sky rather than in the darkness, Sometimes changes are coming slow, But when all door handles will be fixed, they will come all at once.
Renewal is coming, Something bigger and better, Trust your heart, There will be more love than there will be hate, There will be more good than there will be bad, And there will be more light than there will be darkness.
On this tiny blue and green planet, This quarantine has not been “that’s how the story ends” But it is “ that’s how the story begins”….
Hospital beds…. Doctors and nurses, Moving faster and harder than anytime before… I think the reminder of these days will always sting like a hornet.
For days your body quivered, As the underground bunker opened and closed its door around you, You were completely vulnerable, As all the other poor souls around you, But your parachute jerked your body back.
You’re dreaming of blue skies and white puffed clouds, Or maybe of the ocean shore where we sat every morning, You’re taking trips With your eyes closed, but with the gateway of your soul open.
I feel your heart getting warmer, Searching through the glass window, As closest as they have let me get to you…
My eyes are crying And my invisible hands are ripping out all the caution tape, All the “do not enter” signs That held us back from living the life we truly want to live.
Wake up my love, Life is precious, Especially the one that is given twice.
Life and how precious every moment is. Not many had life –altering experiences, but if you did, you understand best what second chances are. “Live your life to the fullest” is just a motto until you start doing it. So do it, you may never have tomorrow what you can have today. Love and live to the fullest.
About 150 years ago, in 1881, Louis Pasteur was probably seating at his desk, writing this hopeful letter about the development of a vaccine for anthrax.
For the ones who never heard of Pasteur (December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895), he is the one that developed the overall principle of vaccination and contributed to the foundation of immunology, microbiology and pathology. He developed vaccines against swine flu and rabies.
His name, Pasteur sounds like a familiar word, right? It is, pasteurization comes from Pasteur. He invented pasteurization, the process that kills microorganisms in certain foods and beverages so these would last more. He originally intended this to help the French wine industry to combat spillage.
Back to his letter, I can only hope that maybe someone in this world, is now seating at his desk writing a letter or an email about a hopeful trial and the development of a Covid19 vaccine. A vaccine that would serve all people that would need it!
In light of the current events, I would think that human kind and each and every individual has been facing, in a way or another, thoughts that didn’t make part of their regular thinking. Such thoughts might include: our mortality (what if you die of this virus?), the mortality of the ones you love (what is someone you love would die of this virus?), the world as we know it( how would things change after the pandemic is over, will it change?) and you can add to this list …..
I think confronting what is happening should be a transformative experience and should teach us some lessons. But, apparently, is not like that. Right now, I am frustrated with the media. So here are some thoughts on this subject.
Media’s bias and manipulation has remained. Instead of painting the picture of what is happening and talk about real facts, they keep up with their agendas.
Take Yahoo. What is the fascination with the royals? If you tune on yahoo, many news are about the English royal family. What do they wear (why is this important?), how they came out of quarantine (I wish them luck, but I wish the same for all the regular people out there), appearances and events they participated and so on. Well, personally, I don’t feel like singing in the chorus. I don’t feel like applauding these and having these constantly in the front page. What I would like to see is real stories, of people in front line, who are truly fighting to save human lives. What I would really like to see is doctors, nurses, and human beings that try to do something good. I am not implying that the royal family is not doing good. It is and I am sure they are wonderful people. However, they are not part of the masses. They are privileged people, in privileged situations. So, what is the purpose of keep putting these news into our eyes and brains? Perpetuating the actual social order? Where is the real life, the life of the majority of people? Same things I said about the news on the English royal family apply to the all the celebrities they keep reporting on. Yahoo news is lousy. Too bad that they have such large audience and they’re not doing the right thing.
Take FOX. For the ones of you that are not American, FOX is an American news channel. They are biased because they favor conservatives in the US. I guess that is FOX’s agenda and in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with it, because that’s what they believe in. But I do find it wrong when they disseminate false information to follow their agenda. Fox has been a source of misinformation for coronavirus pandemic and now they are at the verge of a lawsuit.
I am sorry FOX, I don’t understand is why you don’t give your audience decent health information.
Take CNN. Let’s move to another media outlet. CNN is believed to be neutral, to abide by the rules of journalistic neutrality. You would think so…..until you watch the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries debate moderated by CNN. Here CNN was so consistently aligned against Bernie Sanders, and intended to depict him as misogynist. I don’t personally know Bernie Sanders, and I don’t know if he is prejudiced or not, but the purpose of the debate should have been to show the constituency any substantive disagreements between the candidates or problems with their policy positions. However, CNN agenda was followed…..
So, what are we to think? Should we let our mind be manipulated and skewed by the news they feed us?! What news are actual news that do not follow well crafted agendas?
The qualities of any journalist and media reporter (anchor, producer….e.g.) should be integrity, morals and high standards. Where are these people? I am sure that many of them are at CNN, BBC and other media outlets. But people, show yourself and show integrity. Show it for the sake of us all, for the sake of humanity. Maybe if you do, we will live in a better, a more truthful and honest world.
And for us all, we should think twice before we take what media says at the face value. Everything should go through the filter of our minds. Before we listen, know what’s their agenda. Not everything is as they say.
I wondered how does this virus infect our body, what makes it so strong and why is it so contagious. SO, below is some information I gathered about it……
TOOOOO bad we will never know the origin of this virus, because it’s just seems so well designed. It enters our body through a a backdoor. A protein called angiotensin that functions as a receptor for coronavirus.
Types of viruses by the way they are built and their infection mechanisms
Viruses can be either RNA or DNA viruses. The difference between DNA viruses and RNA viruses is that DNA viruses contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as the genetic material where as RNA viruses have ribonucleic acid (RNA) as the genetic material.
The infection mechanisms for DNA and RNA are different. I wont get into that, but scientific evidence says that RNA transformation rate is higher than DNA change rate.
Covid-19 is a RNA respiratory virus.
Respiratory viruses affect the lungs, nose, and throat. These viruses are most commonly spread by inhaling droplets containing virus particles.
Here are some examples:
Seasonal influenza is an illness that affects about 5% to 20% of the population in the US every year. More than 200,000 people per year are hospitalized annually in the US due to complications of the flu. Flu symptoms are more severe than cold symptoms and often include body aches and severe fatigue. The flu also tends to come on more suddenly than a cold.
Swine Flu (H1N1) is a respiratory illness caused by the Influenza-A virus. A virus’s genetics allow that particular virus to live inside a specific species, like a human, cat, dog, monkey, and others. Swine flu cannot be spread by eating cooked pork products
Coronavirus Infections. The seven known coronavirus infections that make people sick range from mild to severe, depending on the virus type. This virus family is known to infect various animals, and is also known to mutate easily. Three types—the ones that cause SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2)–have the potential to be fatal, and each of these has led to a significant global outbreak.
How do you get infected with Covid-19?
I’ve heard and read many stories about the panic and scare of getting infected. How do you get it? Can you get it from the air? Should you spray your tomatoes after you buy them from the store? Should you spray your Amazon boxes? Well, there are million of question about this. Nobody has yet a clear answer, I think the best we can do is try respect social distancing rules, and keep what we bring into our homes clean, including our shoes and deliveries.
I have found a story that explains very smartly the way the virus gets into out body, how it evolves and multiplies. It’s almost like seeing a movie on how someone can get infected. Here is it:
You call a friend and arrange to meet for lunch. It’s unseasonably springlike, so you choose a place with outdoor seating, which seems like it should be safer. As usual, you take all reasonable precautions: You use hand sanitizer, sit a good distance from other customers, and try to avoid touching your face, though that last part is hard. A part of you suspects that this whole thing might be overblown.
What you don’t know is that ten days ago, your friend’s father was a guest of his business partner at the University Club, where he caught the novel coronavirus from the wife of a cryptocurrency speculator. Three days after that, he coughed into his hand before opening the door of his apartment to welcome his son home. The saliva of COVID-19 patients can harbor half a trillion virus particles per teaspoon, and a cough aerosolizes it into a diffuse mist. As your friend walked through the door he took a breath and 32,456 virus particles settled onto the lining of his mouth and throat.
Viruses have been multiplying inside his body ever since. And as he talks, the passage of his breath over the moist lining of his upper throat creates tiny droplets of virus-laden mucus that waft invisibly into the air over your table. Some settle on the as-yet-uneaten food on your plate, some drift onto your fingers, others are drawn into your nasal sinus or settle into your throat. By the time you extend your hand to shake good-bye, your body is carrying 43,654 virus particles. By the time you’re done shaking hands, that number is up to 312,405.
One of the droplets gets drawn into the branching passages of your lungs and settles on the warm, wet surface, depositing virus particles into the mucus coating the tissue. Each particle is round and very small; if you magnified a human hair so that it was as wide as a football field, the virus particle would be four inches across. The outer membrane of the virus consists of an oily layer embedded with jagged protein molecules called spike proteins. These stick out like the protrusions on a knobby ball chew toy. In the middle of the virus particle is a coiled strand of RNA, the virus’s genetic material. The payload.
As the virus drifts through the lung’s mucus, it bumps into one of the cells that line the surface. The cell is considerably larger than the virus; on the football-field scale, it’s 26 feet across. A billion years of evolution have equipped it to resist attackers. But it also has a vulnerability — a backdoor. Protruding from its surface is a chunk of protein called angiotensin converting enzyme 2, or ACE2 receptor. Normally, this molecule plays a role in modulating hormone activity within the body. Today, it’s going to serve as an anchor for the coronavirus.
This is part of an article by Jeff Wise, “How the Coronavirus Could Take Over Your Body (Before You Ever Feel It)”. It is a very interesting, explanatory article. To read it in full click here article in New York Magazine, Intelligencer. They have made the access free, for people to get more educated about this topic.
And then you get it and it gets multiplied in your body. And you may be one of the lucky ones to get over it quickly…..or you may not be so lucky. I guess you never know until you have to deal with it.
But, you should not get it. Nobody should. That’s why we have to follow the rules of social distancing and take care of ourselves, of our families and of the ones near us.
Stay safe everyone! Let’s just say this is a pandemic that we all will live through, and one day, we will tell our children or grandchildren stories about it.
Having analyzing the statistics for the past week or so, I am rather puzzled by the evolution of the pandemics across the world. While China is reporting very few or little cases, other parts of the world, aka Western Europe and USA is witnessing an exponential evolution in number of infections and deaths. Not only is the number of infections quickly increasing everywhere but, by comparison, the number of cases/size of population seems unaligned when comparing China with the rest of the world.
Because I have lived in a former communist country, my first thought was that China’s government is misinforming the rest of the world. However, I have dismissed this idea on thoughts that they have been better on measures of containment. Though, as the infection with Covid-19 is unfolding day after day, my thoughts of misinformation don’t go away. So, I am looking again at statistics. The story of China doesn’t seem credible and here is why.
Forget about the number of deaths, let’s look at the numbers in a way an epidemiologist would analyze them.
Scientists use RO – the reproduction number – to describe the intensity of an infectious disease outbreak. R0 is the number of cases, on average, an infected person will cause during their infectious period. According the available scientific information the RO for SARS was 3 (World Health Organization). Click here to see the reference about SARS. So an infected person will infect 3 other people and so on. It’s like a snowball.
We don’t know yet what the reproduction number is yet for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But what we do know is the number of infections and deaths/ per country.
By looking at statistics, I think the most telling is the following. I built this table based on data from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. This table shows how the number of infections has doubled throughout the world. You can find more statistics and info at European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, click here to get to their page
# cases doubled in 7 days
657,140 total March 29
+65,169 new March 29
# cases doubled in 4 days
124,665 total March 29
+19,979 new March 29
# cases doubled in 9 days
92,472 total March 29
+5,974 new March 29
# cases doubled in 48 days
82,342 total March 29
+129 new March 29
# cases doubled in 5 days
72,248 total March 29
+8,189 new March 29
# cases doubled in 6 days
52,547 total March 29
+3,965 new March 29
# cases doubled in 6 days
37,575 total March 29
+4,611 new March 29
# cases doubled in 4 days
17,089 total March 29
+2,546 new March 29
Data source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Now, if the RO is the same for this virus across the world, you would expect the number of days in which the # of cases would double to be comparable among countries. Not the same, but comparable. So then, how come, between China and the rest of the world there is such a huge discrepancy?!!!! 48 days for China, while the rest of the world is 6-7 days?!!
To add to this, China’s population is 1.386 billion people. But let’s not talk about whole China. The hardest hit province was Hubei with 55 million. Guangdong Province too, was affected and it is connected by strong transportation links to Hubei Province. Guangdong is home to 113 million people and contains many large cities including Guangzhou (12m people), Shenzhen (10m), Dongguan (8m) and Foshan (7m). So, between Hubei and Guandog, we have close to 160 million people…. Let’s assume that COVID did not spread past these 2 provinces…
China has reported 82,342. So, to compare China 82,342/160 million people Italy 92,472 /60.4 million Germany 52,547 /82.7 million Germany and Italy had a much later start than China, and they are still going strong. They still have yet to flatten the curve.
Based on this data, I am not sure if China is telling the real numbers. If they are, it would be great to know how their numbers doubled in 48 days while for the rest of the world was 6-7 days. Also, what measures they put in place to spread the disease propagating throughout the rest of the population.
I guess I am not the only one that hypothesizes that the Chinese official figures are inaccurate.
Also, according to a study from Ohio State University, for China, “the number of cumulative cases, new cases per day , and cumulative deaths coming from the non-official data are all substantially higher by a factor of 5 to 10 (depending on the date of the data) than would be implied by the official Chinese government data”. (Source: He, Mai and Dunn, Lucia F., Evaluating Incidence and Impact Estimates of the Coronavirus Outbreak from Official and Non-Official Chinese Data Sources (February 18, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3540636 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3540636)
A newspaper from NYC has obtained data from Shandong province in China. They report that:
“Each day from Feb. 9 to Feb. 23, Shandong authorities underreported the number of infections, according to internal data compiled by the Shandong Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SCDC). The SCDC kept a tally of the number of people who tested positive for the virus during nucleic acid testing—using a diagnostic kit to test patient samples and detect whether they contain the virus’s genetic sequence. The SCDC’s daily new infection numbers ranged from 1.36 times to 52 times greater than the officially published data by the Shandong health commission and China’s National Health Commission. As of Feb. 25, the Shandong government stated that there were a total of 755 infections in the province. But the internal document showed that 1,992 people had tested positive for the virus via nucleic acid testing as of Feb. 23.”
Oh, and here is an update: an article that came out today on yahoo news, that says ” Wuhan Residents Dismiss Official Coronavirus Death Toll: ‘The Incinerators Have Been Working Around the Clock”. Click here to go to this article.
Well folks, with all this information, I will let you judge. I think we all need to work together to combat this virus. No matter which part of the world we inhabit, we’re in this together. This is not a question of politics, it is a question of humanity.
In the morning I read the news, it is one of my routines. I want to see what has happened in the world while I was asleep. When the pandemic began, I started studying the statistics in search for patterns and explanations. I gained a lot of insight, at a cost. Today I found myself sinking in my chair, crying. When the statistics came in I felt as someone punched me straight into the heart, if there is such a thing… I was crying because Italy’s numbers went up again. For couple of days they went slightly lower. New daily deaths were around 600/day (which is a lot!) and I thought that they have reached the peak and that they were going down. I was cheering in my heart for them to be better and for their numbers to get lower and lower!!
I think Dr. Strange has skewed the reality. I feel as I live in a bad dream and I am waiting to wake up. I wonder how everybody feels?
I know that above all, hope must prevail. I know that this will be over, but I want the loss of life to stop. I don’t want old people to die alone and be buried without the attendance of their families. I don’t want people to die.
Human kind has been through bad situations. Many of them have happened before we were born, but many happened during our lives. To mention few of the latest: the Syrian war, the genocide in Kosovo and there are many others that I will just leave aside. What have we done to stop them? Why is there always an international struggle for power, when we all are humans living on this planet. Why do we spend resources on warfare instead of spending them on development, cures, better lives for people and eventually, making our way in this vast universe because this planet might not be enough?
This virus doesn’t recognize borders. Maybe this pandemic was a wake up call. A call for people to become better, a call for nation states to become better. I hope we will learn. I hope we will become more compassionate, more loving, more supportive, because these qualities and more are in each and every one of us. On this little planet called Earth our story, as humankind, should be a story of survival. A story of love, because it makes us all feel good. A story of compassion and support because we all need each other.
Here is to all of you, to all the doctors and nurses, to people working in all domains, to our elders, to our young people. Keep pouring whatever you have good in your cup in the cups of others, become their miracle.