Friday, March 13, 2020

Things Get Worse Before Kenya

Tomorrow we were going to Kenya, and the deterioration of the Covid-19 situation both in the US and the world continued. It was definitely making the decision of whether to continue according to plan more unpleasant.

After we had so much fun catching a BattleHawks game it was sad to hear that the remainder of their maiden season was canceled.

Up to this point my logic for going to Kenya was that there was less covid there than in the United States. While that was still true I was not excited to see that cases had begun to appear there the day before departure.

Tourism accounts for about 10% of the Kenyan economy. So you see, us sticking to our Kenya travel plans was important to support the country's service sector.

It's pretty bad when so many people are getting the plague that they have to close the cemetery.

One silver lining that I've been able to find in the virus outbreak is that the latest Fast and Furious movie has been postponed.

I called several hardware stores out in the boonies. I thought that maybe since the country folk don't believe in the virus that there would still be N95 masks available for sale. There were none.

In hindsight it seems like insanity that we went through with our travel plans. I think our decision to continue was a mixture of a few things. I had just traveled through Asia without much incident. I recall thinking that the US was handling this so badly that being abroad for a while might be an improvement to our situation. Air Canada wouldn't let us get a refund on our tickets and we still didn't have refunds from our canceled Mongolia trip. At this point in time I think this was still a "stay out of China and Italy and you're pretty safe" state of affairs.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Covid Supermarket Sweep

So yesterday was Panic Day, where everyone all seemed to get worried about Covid-19/coronavirus all at the same time. Well that was super fun for us because we had a trip to Kenya planned to depart in two days. So not only did we have to worry about how to navigate life in St. Louis we had to make a decision pretty quickly about what to do about our trip. We had initially had a trip to Mongolia planned but that got nixed because the flights connected in China.

Flights to the US from Europe were being banned and we had connections both ways to Europe. However we were in a tough spot because our trip was booked on Air Canada and our first leg went to Vancouver. As far as I understood we were still able to go to and from Europe in this roundabout fashion using Canada as a mediator. Which for pandemic prevention purposes... you wouldn't think would be very effective. Furthermore since flights from US to Canada weren't banned, and flights from Canada to Europe weren't banned, as far as Air Canada was concerned it was "game on" and they were not going to let us cancel our flight.

It was interesting to see the dueling measures that St. Louis and St. Louis County were taking as virus response.

One of my favorite activities is going to see free sneak peek showings of movies. I had tickets to A Quiet Place: Part II but it was canceled. As I write this the movie release date is now listed as April 23, 2021.

There have been a lot of references to the 1918 Spanish flu recently, which killed 675,000 Americans. I remember thinking that coronavirus was serious but that surely the US would fare better this time. Surely 100 years of health technology advances would help us avoid that sort of death toll. As of October 25, 2020 the US has had 225,000 covid deaths.

At work we had pizza party thing. I think maybe coworkers from a different office were visiting.

The Family Video across the street from our office closed but don't worry. An equally classy outfit is moving in to the space: Dollar General.

My acquaintances on social media who work in the service industry started to realize that they were about to be royally screwed if everyone stopped eating out or going to bars.

A covid related sign on the front door of the Central Library downtown.

We'd heard about shortages at supermarkets from people stocking up for doomsday. This is where they used to sell toilet paper at the downtown Fields Foods.

I figured we should stock up on bottled water as well. In case we got bored during the apocalypse and wanted to do papier-mache with the toilet paper.

Some of the other local residents were apparently also concerned about where their next drink of water may come from.

I put all my little bottles away when I noticed that the giant jugs of water for water coolers had been unnoticed by the mob. I bought three of these things. We got to the point where we were talking about how we could collect rainwater on the roof with tarps if the plague got so bad that the water system broke down. It was hard to tell what sort of measures one should take in times like these. There were a few other shoppers witnessing us push our cart around full of toilet paper and water. They were definitely watching us but they were not laughing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Covid Panic Day

I read that people in the travel industry refer to March 11, 2020 as panic day. I've lived through a few disease outbreaks before and none of them really affect me at all: bird flu, swine flu, ebola, zika virus, west nile... the list goes on. Today was the day when it hit many people that this time with Covid-19 was different.

Covid testing was very restricted.

As it was already spring break for a lot of schools, it was easier for them to just say "don't come back." I've said numerous times how happy and thankful I am that this didn't happen during my school years. Missing a year with my friends in college would be pretty devastating compared to normal boring adulthood.

The NBA suspending its season was one big signal that this was real. The amount of money that they were losing from this decision was an unmistakable signal of seriousness.

Tom Hanks getting it was another signal I think, that even rich and famous people were not immune. If Tom couldn't avoid catching cooties how would normal people? Him dying from this would have been pretty devastating to the populace.

This turd of course was just worried about the effect on the stock market.

I stumbled upon a quote that felt fitting:

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

― Issac Asimov

I was playing poker with Hank and Seago sharing the beers I imported from Milwaukee while the end of the world unfolded.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Art Museum and the Zoo

We visited the Saint Louis Art Museum to check out the annual Art in Bloom show. There was bloomin art all over the place.

Louis XIV, King of France

We popped over to the zoo next door. Why not? It's all freeeee.