How Seattle businesses prepare for the 2-week “Stay at Home” edict-Updated with Yep!

Remember Seattle?  The city on the Left Coast with the huge homeless population living in tents and under tarps on its streets?  The city where street people are allowed to remain on the streets if they don’t want to “accept help”?

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The city has announced plans to clear away a homeless encampment under the south end of the Ballard Bridge. About six people are still living at the camp. (Genna Martin, seattlepi.com)

This article in today’s news just made me laugh (and vow, once again, to stay the hell out of Seattle, which won’t be difficult since the entire state is under the order to stay home unless involved in essential activities).

So people don’t break in and drink our alcohol”: Stores board up for stay-at-home order.

BoardedUpSeattle

Look away for a few minutes, and your livelihood is trashed.  Except for the fact that these businesses were already in danger of going under, due to the order that all bars and restaurants close, to slow the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  In this case, the cure may be worse than the disease for small businesses.

Update 3-27 And here it is-the article describing exactly what those business owners feared would happen:

Seattle restaurants hit by thieves, vandals, during coronavirus closures.

Right on time.  Welcome to lawless Seattle.

Looking for a refuge from the Wuhan Coronavirus?

Looking for a refuge from the Wuhan Coronavirus?

…and all its attendant ills, both physical and psychological?  Are you looking for a place to go to relax, where the pesky virus will not intrude on your mellow?

Well, I have just the place for you.

Hie yourself on over to WizardingWorld.com, and dive right into the Harry Potter Universe!  The site is the former Pottermore, with all the features you have come to love. The elves behind Wizarding World will entertain you with quizzes, features, and news from the world of Harry Potter.  Eventually they intend to bring back the “explore the story” feature that those of us who really got into the old Pottermore came to love and lose ourselves in.  Personally, that’s the part I miss the most about the former site.

Now, though, the additional Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise adds new and fun areas to the site.  For anyone who has never checked out Wizarding World should go over there right now!  Even now, you can register, get sorted into your House at both Hogwarts, and Ilvermorny (the US school of magic); find out your Wand and your Patronus, and get ready to have fun!

You will not find ANY mention of that Muggle virus at Wizarding World, so you can just relax and explore.  You can also go to the Apple App Store and download the app, and do quizzes and read about features on your phone!

So, do it today!  You will not regret it for one minute.

It’s The Culture, Stupid! How we got the Wuhan Coronavirus

It’s The Culture, Stupid! How we got the Wuhan Coronavirus

With Novel Coronavirus spreading like wildfire everywhere in the world now, perhaps you are wondering how it all started, where this virus came from in the first place.  You might wish to know how it was that, last fall in China, someone in the medical establishment there noticed some cases of a particularly nasty pneumonia cropping up around Hubei Province in central China; the capital city of Wuhan in particular.

Let’s start, then, at the beginning.  Chinese culture is very old, going back many centuries, and many of the culinary characteristics of today’s China are throwbacks to a much more primitive time.  In the long past, like in most countries, the Chinese people lived closer to the forests.  In those forests lived many species of animals, and the people killed and ate those animals.  When the Chinese people became more civilized, and moved into villages and then into cities, they brought many of their culinary tastes with them.  Chinese people today still have a taste for unusual foods like pangolin, bats, and sharks-fins.  It is well-known that Chinese will pay good money for some very unusual foods, and that has led to their encouraging of poaching of some endangered species.

Cultures in Africa also have a taste for some exotic wildlife, and many tribes today still live in or near jungles and forests, where they hunt and eat wild animals, sometimes including primates.  Here is a picture of a market stall in Africa, where they are selling exotic wildlife for food.

bushmeat-Africa

In Africa, this is called “bushmeat”, and you can see the face of a primate among the specimens in this market.  It is well-known that some diseases can be spread by the consumption of exotic animals, and that eating the flesh of primates may carry what is known in humans as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.  This is a particularly gruesome, incurable condition that causes the brain to deteriorate.

Getting back to the beginning, scientists for decades have known that many exotic species of forest and jungle wildlife carry their own kinds of viruses and bacteria.  In these species, the pathogens often do not cause any kind of adverse effects or illnesses.  In fact, we humans also carry many harmless, and sometimes beneficial, viruses and bacteria (bacteria are what actually allows us to digest our food).  It is only when humans consume, or live among, these exotic species that their viruses and bacteria can “jump” to humans, and then they can cause very harmful diseases.  This process is called “zoonosis”.

In the early 20th Century, it has been determined, the virus that causes AIDS first jumped from African primates to humans.  It remained localized for a long time, but eventually made its way into civilization, and they was spread very rapidly by homosexual humans and their multiple sex partners (the original “spreader” was a flight attendant who boasted of over 2,500 partners).  The Ebola virus, whose name is a river in Africa, was spread by Africans and their penchant for eating bushmeat, and it remains a stubborn low-level epidemic in multiple parts of Africa.  Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a virus found in horses that can spread to humans, and African Swine Fever has recently decimated the pigs of China (it is similar to Ebola in humans).  Scientists and wildlife experts have been trying for decades to get Africans to stop eating bushmeat, but their efforts have been in vain.  Culture is just too powerful.

Well, the same kind of situation holds in modern China.  The Wuhan Wet Market is an institution in the large capital city of Hubei Province, where citizens can buy all manner of wild animals for food.  Investigators have determined that the virus that is now propagating everywhere in the world originated in bats sold in the market.  And the Chinese people have proven similarly resistant to giving up their cultural taste for exotic food.  The Communist Party has closed the market for now, but the culture does not change that quickly.  Here’s a new interesting article.

China has been a Communist country since 1949, and the Party has added another layer of culture over the original Chinese culture.  Their culture of secrecy and arrogance contributed in large part to the spread of this new disease.  However, their very-Chinese concentration on “saving face” also helped in a big way to keep this world-wide pandemic going.  The Communist Party’s prime directive is tranquillity-they will do anything to avoid unrest in the population.  So they did things like suppress news of the disease outbreak, and put the doctor who originally told his medical colleagues about it under isolation, making him sign a confession to “spreading rumors”, and condemning him to death from the virus.

Communism is Evil, and it can lead to situations like we are seeing now.  People all over the world are succumbing to this previously-unknown virus, and their deaths can be attributed in part to Chinese and Communist Culture.

…Only Tradeoffs…Healthcare workers spread death..Updated to add link to article

…Only Tradeoffs…Healthcare workers spread death..Updated to add link to article

Yes, that’s exactly what has happened here in the “Hot Zone” of the Seattle area.  The epicenter of the novel coronavirus epidemic in the US is a long-term-care facility in Kirkland, Washington, with the ironic-seeming name of Life Care Center of Kirkland.  It is thought that a patient had a family visitor early this year (exact date unknown), who had been to the Wuhan area of China recently.  That visitor left, and returned to the East Coast, possible seeding that area with the virus also.  That visitor infected a staff member at the center.

Not knowing that she was infected, the staff member went about her duties at the center, coming into contact with multiple patients, and when she became ill, continued to work at the center instead of staying home and taking care of herself.  The Federal investigators who were called in to sleuth out the reason for all the patients who became ill, found out that the highly-contagious respiratory illness was basically spread all over the Life Care Center by ill employees.

And then, those same ill employees left for their second jobs at other area LTC facilities, taking the disease with them.  Nursing-home aides are some of the lowest-paid healthcare workers, and many of them need multiple jobs in order to pay the bills.  And, in order not to lose pay and benefits, they go to work sick.  Here’s where the tradeoffs happen.  Nursing-home aides usually have very little education or training-a course can take as little as three months.  Nursing-home owners have incentive to pay their employees as little as possible, as most patients’ bills are paid by Medicare or Medicaid, which have fairly low reimbursement rates.

The average nursing-home resident is aged, frail, infirm, and vulnerable.  They are very susceptible to any kind of bug that happens to be around as a general rule.  With not enough available staff to meet everyone’s 24/7 needs, patients are sometimes neglected; infection-control rules honored mostly in the breach, and this can lead to the spread of disease within the institutional population.  Then, when underpaid nurses and other staff move among multiple nursing homes, disaster can follow.  Edit on 3-22: RushBabe links to this story, to back up my information above.

That is what is happening now in Washington State.  Deaths are over 70, and the majority of those deaths are occurring in nursing-home residents.  Tradeoffs…  If you pay your staff more, enabling them to give up that second job, you can train them better in infection-control techniques (which start with simple hand-washing), and you will have healthier residents, decreasing the need for medications.  But…your costs increase commensurately, and you have to raise your rates to whatever private-pay patients you have, since Medicare and Medicaid pay fixed rates.  The nursing-home owner is now caught in the cost-trap.

More tradeoffs…  If you are a low-paid healthcare worker, you are trained to take care of yourself, so you can take care of your patients.  You are taught infection-control and avoidance, but hand-washing and disinfecting take time, and your patient is moaning for you.  Your salary is too low to pay all your bills, so you take a second job.  And when you get up in the morning feeling under the weather, with the sniffles, you realize that, if you do the right thing and call in sick, you lose a day’s pay, putting your finances in peril.  So you go to work anyway, and put your patients in peril.  What to do?

Indeed, what to do?  I don’t have any answers.  Better training all around would help keep nursing-home residents healthier.  Nursing homes have been known forever to be substandard when it comes to cleanliness, staffing, and medication-handling.  Perhaps more use of volunteer cleaners could enable staff to concentrate more on residents.  In any case, this coronavirus epidemic has shone a big spotlight on the long-term-care industry, and perhaps new answers will be found.

See, I told you so

See, I told you so

I have mentioned many times on my blog how I refuse to give up my single-person, fully-owned automobile, in the face of environmentalist wackos trying to get us out of our cars.  My car is my Liberty.  Any time I want to go somewhere, as long as my car is working well (99.99% of the time), and has gas in the tank (100% of the time), I can just hop in the car and go.

Now, what about all those good little sheeple, city-dwellers who, in the name of “saving the planet”, gave up their cars, and take the bus, or the train, or walked, to work and everywhere else they needed to go?  What do they now do, when public transit is shut down in the face of a rampant viral disease epidemic? How do they now get around, when their only modes of transportation are not available?  Do they call Mommy and ask for a ride?  Do they impose on their friends who might have a car?

I guess there might just be disadvantages to giving up your personally-owned transportation.  When you have to depend on the government to take you where you need to go, you’d better have a backup plan, because government is sometimes unreliable.  Unlike your own car, which is always available for your use.

A sample of RushBabe’s Email for this week-Coronavirus Edition

The past week has been pretty volatile for everyone, around the world.  Whole countries “locked down”, stock-market swings like never before (2,000 points in one day on the Dow!), panic-buying leading to empty store shelves, restaurants and other public venues closing, and a death-count rising almost everywhere.  I live right smack in the middle of a “hot zone” in the Seattle area, so the local media is keeping us informed of conditions around Puget Sound.

I have a dedicated “professional” email account, where I direct emails from companies I buy from, both online and in person, and use for my employment contacts, should I be looking for a job.  For the past two weeks, I have been receiving emails from most of the stores and businesses I buy from, with a variety of updates and information on how they are dealing with the crisis.  Most places describe how they are keeping their own premises and employees safe; cleaning everything in sight, encouraging everyone to stay home if feeling sick, and following local and national guidelines.

Herewith, a sample of some of the emails I have been receiving:

The first one, from last week, from the head of Alaska Airlines. I was impressed that he has eight children-that’s pretty unusual these days, and I admire him for it:

Please be assured that Alaska Airlines is closely monitoring the situation, including conducting daily briefings with some of the best medical experts in the nation. Our top priority is always the safety of you and our employees. Check out our blog on the extra steps we are taking to keep our guests safe with additional cleaning and updates to onboard procedures.

At Alaska, we are optimistic about the future and hope you feel that way too. We launched our Peace of Mind policy so that you can take comfort in knowing that any ticket purchased after February 27, 2020 can be changed or canceled without a fee (applies for any travel through February 28, 2021). Today, we launched our biggest fare sale yet with fares starting as low as $20 one way* for travel between March 19, 2020 and May 20, 2020. And, we’ve got great deals to Hawaiʻi, New York and Florida starting at $99 one way.* We hope the combination of these great fares and our Peace of Mind policy will help those who want to travel this spring but are concerned their plans may change.

We understand that everyone is in a different place when it comes to what is best for you and your family. Just recently, Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “I just want to echo again that the risk is low—the risk is low. I encourage Americans to go about their life. That includes travel to California, Oregon and the state of Washington.”

In closing, some of you may know that my wife and I are blessed with eight children. We have a family trip to Hawaiʻi planned for spring break this year, and we can’t wait to go! We know things can change, but we are looking forward to our trip together as a family. Hopefully we will see some of you there.

Thank you for being a Mileage Plan™ member.

Andrew Harrison

From my financial institution where I have my “play money” individual stock Roth IRA account:

As you might expect, volatility in the markets has increased the number of clients contacting us. Unfortunately, this has resulted in much longer than normal phone wait times, sometimes keeping us from delivering the level of service we are known for.

Given the potential spread of the virus over the coming weeks, we’re anticipating additional impacts that may lead to a continuation of extended wait times. In an effort to protect the safety and welfare of both our clients and associates, we may deem it necessary to limit or suspend person‑to‑person interactions between our clients and associates within our branches. If that is the case, our branch staff still would be available to clients by phone or other means. Please check the branch locator for the most up to date information on your local branch. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

They also emphasize that their Web site is the place to go for more information 24/7.

From Lands’ End, where I often buy clothing items.  They are located in rural Dodgeville, Wisconsin, and have some of the best customer service around:

We are following guidance from public health officials and government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), so we can make assessments and provide information and guidance as the situation develops.

Employee self-care is important to us.  We continue to focus on encouraging washing your hands regularly, staying home when you are sick to prevent the spread of germs to others, and hand sanitizers are available for all employees. We also have restricted international travel and US travel is on a case by case basis.

In addition to our regular cleaning procedures at our retail stores, offices, and distribution center, there has been an increased focus on cleaning and sanitizing the more commonly touched hard surfaces, including entrances, bathrooms, fitting rooms, break rooms, conference rooms, phones and registers.

From Enterprise Rent-a-Car, where I often rent when out of town:

Enterprise Rent-A-Car® is offering College Student Travel Assistance in response to the closing of colleges and universities due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

We are reducing the minimum age and waiving young renter fees for rentals through May 31, 2020, to help students get home safely and ease the burden on families during this time.

Details
• Available to college students 18–24 years of age
• Official student ID must be presented at the time of rental
• Valid on Economy through Fullsize cars, Minivans, Small Pickup Trucks and Cargo Vans
• Valid at U.S. locations only for rentals reserved in advance
• Standard driver and credit requirements apply (excluding minimum age)
• Expires May 31, 2020

A short and sweet note from Barnes and Noble bookstores, which have not been doing well lately, seeing their business decline due to the influence of Amazon.  They are still my primary source of the physical books I still buy (I do not buy ebooks-just old-fashioned, I guess):

Dear Reader,

We’re living through turbulent times together. Our booksellers are your neighbors, your friends and family. Your stories are our stories, and we know how resilient our communities are.

Sincerely,

The Booksellers of Barnes & Noble

An email from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Israel, to whom I donate each year:

In light of the recent directives from Israel’s Ministry of Health in the fight against the Coronavirus (COV-19), Yad Vashem is closed to visitors from Sunday 15 March until further notice.

This one is interesting.  I buy tickets to the University Unitarian Church full-length Messiah Sing-and-Playalong each December, through local ticket agency Brown Paper Tickets.  They are known for their Social-Justice Warrior characteristics, and each ticket-buyer is offered a choice of charities to which to direct their share of agency profits (they concentrate, obviously, on social-service outfits).  Here’s the email I received from them:

To our events community,

For the first time in Brown Paper Tickets’ 20-year history, we are reaching out to our entire community of fans and supporters because artists, performers, and organizers are in crisis. They need our help now.

The impact of COVID-19 on small, community organizations is unprecedented. From independent bookstores, to local theaters, to arts nonprofits, event organizers are in immediate financial danger. For them, every ticket matters – one canceled event could mean the difference between making rent and closing their doors forever.

Our core mission at Brown Paper Tickets is to support events and the people who make events happen. Now, we’re asking you to join us.

Please consider contributing to your local arts organizations during this difficult time.

We currently have over 20,000 small events listed, and more are being added daily – purchasing a ticket to a future event now can have a huge positive impact. Many organizers also accept donations through our platform or on their own websites.

We know that the climate right now is one of uncertainty. Some events may be postponed, some may be canceled, but many will go on. Our commitment to you remains the same: 24/7/365 live support, full refunds for canceled events through the Brown Paper Tickets processor, and an unwavering belief in the power of our community.

Thank you,

And, finally, a missive from one of our favorite local restaurants.  We like going to the local Red Robin for a burger, and we know that they got their start in Seattle in the 1950s.  Their message was encouraging, since we are not locked down yet, and have been going out to eat when we can:

[Edit: Sorry, I just could not make their email work with all its formatting. Suffice it to day, RR is remaining open for business, with increased cleaning and as usual following all the CDC guidelines.  We plan on going there soon.]

Hubby and I are still very well, and living our lives as we have always done.  We are still working (he from home, me at the factory), washing our hands more often (even if our skin is beginning to look like a rhinoceros), and keeping up with regular activities.  We are not panicking, even if many others are (our local Costco is still out of toilet paper!).  And we are grateful that most of our favorite restaurants are still open for business.  It is gratifying that the entities I deal with in person and online are doing what they can to support their customers and employees.

We will make it through this crisis, if we keep a level head, follow directions from health authorities, and just keep on keeping on.

This is getting ridiculous! “Gender-neutral language” [Updated 3-5-20]

King County, which is made up of mostly Seattle, the Bluest of the Blue in Blue Washington State, has issued instructions for residents to be safe from the rapidly-spreading Coronavirus.  The County recommends that the following groups stay home and avoid crowds for the next three weeks.  This is copied verbatim from the recommendations

* People 60 and older: This group includes ME!  Hey, Boss, I’m going to be out for the next three weeks to avoid getting sick! [why do I think my boss might object to such a long absence-just try to find someone to do my job!]
* People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes [yeah, this is prudent, but three weeks is a long time and maybe those people can’t afford to be out of work for three weeks]
* People who have weakened immune systems [this is obvious]
* People who are pregnant (“Pregnancy we think just as a precaution,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin with Public Health- Seattle & King County. “We don’t have good data that pregnant people are at higher risk but we feel that at this stage where so much is unknown we’d like them to take special precaution as well.”)  ARRGGH!! Please note that they avoid referring to Pregnant Women, who are the ONLY ones who can become pregnant.  Even so-called “transgender women” cannot become pregnant!

Update 3-5-20:  Here is a link to an article on the Fox News Website, about King County. The KC government really does want everyone possible (2 million workers!) to stay home for three weeks.  This is a recipe for tanking the economy.

Welcome to the world of stupid, gender-neutral language, which denies reality.