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Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby stargazer » May 01, 2020 4:26 pm

Love that "signed" Hallelujah Chorus, Courtenay! :)

I've enjoyed seeing TV coverage of "parades" in neighborhoods (like teachers driving through the students' neighborhoods, especially for those seniors whose graduation ceremonies have been canceled). We've had several right here on our street, when cars came by celebrating a neighbor child's birthday, and another from the employer of Rya's brother.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby Varnafinde » May 02, 2020 5:52 am

Norway was put on partial lockdown on March 13. Kindergartens, schools, colleges and universities were closed down. So were all cultural events, cinemas, theatres, concerts etc. Hairdressers had to close down, and other firms doing care where distancing was impossible. The libraries very soon chose to close down, because the work to keep distance and strict hygiene levels would have been too much.

Churches were closed down. But there is usually one Sunday morning church service on national radio broadcast, and that has been going on, only without the congregation. Sometimes those have been sent on national TV as well, and now that is done every Sunday. Several churches in many denominations have produced their own TV broadcasts as well, usually distributed on Youtube.

Non-essential travel has been discouraged (rather than forbidden). Travel abroad is forbidden for health workers. Others who travel abroad have to go in quarantine for two weeks when they come back. (Some people who should have been quarantined, have been heavily fined for ignoring these rules.) All this has caused far less need for air travel, and the airline companies have far less to do and temporarily don't need their full staff. This is a problem for other businesses as well.

The government has provided some financial support both to businesses in trouble, to avoid a tsunami of bankrupt firms, and to individuals who lose their wages.

All workplaces that can, are encouraged to work from home (and mine has, I've been at home since mid-March, and we have staff meetings on Teams every week), so people won't have to work close to each other and won't have to use public transport to get to work.

People are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. If you have to go outside, no more than 5 people together other than your own household. But if you are 15 people together in a park, the police cannot do anything unless you cause a disturbance - breaking the distancing rules is not breaking any law.

The one rule - that had to be made into a temporary law - which caused perhaps the most controversy, was forbidding people to use their holiday cottages. These would mostly be in small municipalities with more cottage owners than local inhabitants, and the local health systems wouldn't have the capacity to handle large numbers of corona patients all at the same time. This also started as a rule, but was changed into a law when it was shown that too many people ignored the rule. The law lasted till just over Easter, and has been revoked now.

Our government claimed that they would need the ability to make new laws and instructions on short notice, without having to wait for a proper series of discussions in parliament committees and then the formal decision in parliament itself (the Storting, led by a President). They asked for a law that would give them this ability for 6 months. (They had even thought about asking for 2 years, but they soon realised that this would be out of the question.)

The parliament discussed it and said that 6 months would be too much, and passed a law that would be for just 1 month, until April 20. (It may have been extended for another month, I only know that they were discussing such an extension.) The cottage ban law was made under this law. And the parliament also retained the right to revoke any new laws under the temporary law if they found them not to be acceptable. So our Prime Minister does not have the chance to become a dictator (not that I think she would want to).

The library in Oslo (our capital, where I live) is still closed. But as of this week they have offered that you can order books from your nearest branch, and then agree with the branch about when to come and pick up your order. Your order will then be put in a bag and left on a table outside the branch, and you can pick it up there.

The pick-up appointment times are spread so that people will not need to queue up and get too close to each other.

You can only order from your own branch. Normally you can order from the library as a whole, and the staff will order it in from the other branches, but these days books aren't distributed to and fro, and no books are handed in, but there would still be a lot to choose from in just one branch.

As you cannot hand in your borrowed books to the library, they just keep extending your duedate. Currently it's at June 22. It's all electronic now (I remember the changing process, years and years ago), they can do the extensions from the headquarters, and then I can log in at the "My Page" and see what the current duedate is. I suspect that they don't expect to reopen until midsummer.

The headquarters used to be in a different building (from the 1930s), and now they have built a new one and closed the old one down - it was meant to have a grand opening and lots of events on March 28. We don't know when they will have the grand event now. Probably some time after the summer instead. Even if they start to use it in a small way as soon as it is allowed to open.

It is the branch that is closest to where I work, so I guess I'll be using it a lot. There is a different branch closer to where I live, too, and I've used that quite a bit as well.

The society is slowly opening up now. Kindergartens opened 2 weeks ago, and primary schools opened early this week. They have to split the classes into smaller groups to keep some distancing, though. Hairdressers etc. may open. Even some cinemas are about to open, but with no more than 50 people in the audience, to allow for distancing. Churches probably will open soon as well, also with no more than 50 people present.

But festivals with more than 500 people are forbidden until September 1.

Now we can wonder whether there will be a strong wave of outbreaks again.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby fantasia » May 02, 2020 8:14 am

Thanks for sharing all of that Varna. Very, very interesting.
Varna wrote:Now we can wonder whether there will be a strong wave of outbreaks again.
That is it, isn't it? I've been doing a lot of reading on the 1918 Spanish Flu to compare and contrast to the Covid-19 pandemic now, because the government and human response was nearly identical.
But it was the second wave of the Spanish Flu that was far more deadly, particularly in places where people sounded the all clear and everyone went out to celebrate. (Check out the Philadelphia parade.)
I went out for a brief errand this morning and couldn't help but notice the very large amount of people out and about. A few had masks, but not many. And the thing is that our active cases where I live aren't really going down, they're just not skyrocketing either.
So as our local government starts to open things back up in two days, I think it's more due to having enough tests now and to start stabilizing the economy rather than fewer illnesses.
Having said that, my comfort of going out and about is going down, not up. :P My husband and I were discussing this morning trying to make grocery lists to last 3-4 weeks instead of 2 weeks to reduce the amount of exposure.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby johobbit » May 02, 2020 8:58 am

Indeed, that was such an interesting read, Varna. I do like your country's library plan, well done!

Here, too, cottagers should not be going up to their country dwellings yet, for concern that this would put too much of a strain on the much smaller medical facilities in those areas. Sadly, there has been some backlash about this.

Now you have got me curious in reading more than I have about the 1918 Spanish Flu, fantasia.

We do not yet know when our restrictions will start to be lifted, but they will be in place, no doubt, at least until June. Fireworks, fires, gatherings, events have been cancelled for our May long weekend (May 16-18 this year). As for Canada Day on the 1st of July, no one knows yet, but 100% sure there will not be any large gatherings allowed.


fantasia wrote:Having said that, my comfort of going out and about is going down, not up.

I would feel the same way if Phase 1 was enacted here. Even still, there are rebels who are protesting against the ongoing lockdown, and are really being foolish in their non-distancing and attitude. :(

Yes, my only errand, grocery shopping is at a minimum each week. I also shop for our daughter and my elderly father. While I don't have a mask, I am wrapping a scarf, doubled, around my face and nose when I go inside a grocery store. And I choose times that I think will be not very crowded. Success so far. I have noticed the vast majority of people being very respectful of the situation. Only one lady yesterday seemed determined to be forward, blatant, and incautious about it all.

No idea when our schools will begin to open. It might be for part of June, with strict guidelines, but it could well not be until September, and then with great caution and planning, particularly considering the anticipated second wave.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby Varnafinde » May 02, 2020 10:47 am

johobbit wrote:Fireworks, fires, gatherings, events have been cancelled for our May long weekend (May 16-18 this year). As for Canada Day on the 1st of July, no one knows yet, but 100% sure there will not be any large gatherings allowed.


Norway's Constitution Day is May 17. The big event of the day is all the children's parades all over the country, with the top being the parade that marches up the main street of Oslo, "Karl Johans gate", and then passes in front of the Royal Palace ("Slottet"), where the King and Queen and other main members of the Royal Family greet them from the balcony. There are usually one or two classes from each of Oslo's roughly a hundred schools, and it takes about two and a half hours for all to pass by. (Karl Johansgate og Slottet 17. mai)

This year the parade has been cancelled. This hasn't happened since the Nazis outlawed it during WW2 with the German occupation.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby Courtenay » May 03, 2020 7:32 am

My sister, who's now working from home, shared this recently with the caption "I'm sure this is how Olive feels!" (that's her cat ;) )

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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 03, 2020 5:01 pm

A daily dose of Ginger Meggs (Daily Telegraph subscription), keeps me laughing. Because basically all of Australia is in lockdown, our Ginger Meggs is in lockdown, too. He says he is bored. He doesn't like reading & he doesn't want to do any creative writing, or even drawing. So Mum gives him some housework he can help her with. Suddenly, like a miracle, he finds he might like drawing or writing after all. :) (I used to do things like that to my kids when they told me they had no homework :D )

Then there was the one where Ginger Meggs asks where the towels are. Mum says behind the toilet rolls. When he opens the bathroom cupboard, he sees heaps & heaps of toilet rolls.. No wonder they are hard to get. :D

There is still a big discussion, especially in Victoria, NSW & Queensland, on how soon can regular school attendance resume. They are going to stagger the classes with one day a week attendance at first. Don't know how that will work at all. Mother's Day is next Sunday, & people are hoping the rules will be relaxed. But that might not happen given there is a nursing home near here, where as many as 14 residents died of COVID-19, because of someone continuing to work there, not knowing they were COVID-19 positive. I do miss visiting the library, too.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby Stylteralmaldo » May 03, 2020 6:28 pm

I’m happy to report that our Archbishop has announced that our local churches can start having public Mass beginning end of this month. Our family has been able to see Mass online, but it isn’t the same as being there in person.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby The Old Maid » May 07, 2020 8:45 am

Two parodies. One has sharks, so watch yourself. :|

"What if beach-goers were as lax about sharks as they were about the virus?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytMdOWd_WNs

And, a British family sings "One Day More," shelter-in-place variation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZafX_U5aqs

Jim Gaffigan has been doing a whole series on being stuck at home with 5 kids on 5 schedules on 5 computers.

...

Thought for the day:

As difficult as this is, this is not a Biblical plague. Plagues cannot be stopped by anything other than repenting. People living on the space station for the past year, before this disease existed, would still get it. But they don't, because it isn't.

This is a disease of ordinary times. See Luke 13:1-5, John 9:2-3. They were talking about the news. Today's virus is the news they would be talking about today.

And to stop it, see 2 Kings 3:15. Basically, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter."

Stay well, everybody!
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 08, 2020 6:19 pm

The Old Maid wrote:As difficult as this is, this is not a Biblical plague. Plagues cannot be stopped by anything other than repenting. People living on the space station for the past year, before this disease existed, would still get it. But they don't, because it isn't.


I know what you are saying was jesting to lighten the mood here. :) But many a true word is said in jest. :D In a manner of speaking today's plague is still just as much a plague as biblical plagues were, nationally & worldwide, if you think about it. One of the activities I've enjoyed in the last six weeks was to re-read a book called Germs, Genes & Civilization, by a microbiologist called David P. Clark, which discusses the transmission of such plagues & their outcomes throughout the ages.

In Biblical terms, public health measures, including dietary restrictions, insisted on by those practising Judaism, such as laid out in Leviticus, could & did protect its practitioners from diseases transmitted by sheer grubbiness, by pigs, kept for garbage disposal in Assyrian & Caananite communities, as much as for food, or by other religions about the place in those times. Going out to the local polytheistic temple worship to join in a wild festive party with the neighbours, was probably a most terrific way to catch their germs, & to spread the misery, when epidemiology had yet to be studied in depth, & before remedies like vaccination, Pasteurization, antibiotics, disinfectant etc were discovered. When reading the Bible, should we also give thanks to the Ancient priestly practitioners of Judaism who contributed to the Bible, for what is undoubtedly the best manual for public health administration anyone would ever know about up until Jesus' era, at least?

It depends on what it is people are expected to repent of doing, & on a tribal or national level, what activities they are doing collectively they need to stop, or at least modify. All this business of lockdowns has worked a treat, in some countries, to limit the spread of a virus the presence of which is notably absent in some relatively poor African countries or more isolated South Pacific states. One of the side effects of the COVID-19 virus spread has been a distinct drop in world wide air pollution. But how long before it comes back, worse than ever? Do we all need to rethink how such bad air pollution came about in the first place?

Maybe this is also true when national governments have more internal control & less disagreement amongst individual provinces, states & territories? The main problems in Australia, & in New Zealand, so far, has been with travel in general, especially incoming passengers bringing the virus from overseas. Respiratory diseases seem more transmissible when people congregate in large groups in closed spaces, & when on board planes or cruise ships such as the Diamond Princess, marooned in Japan, or most notoriously here, the Ruby Princess, where a bureaucratic mistake allowed passengers to alight from the ship with health check procedures incomplete. The inquiry is still proceeding.

But then, just two or three kilometres, up the road, we had a resurgence in a nursing home, attached to a retirement village, where sixteen elderly people, in the home, have died of coronavirus, when a nurse who had unknowingly contracted the virus, continued to infect others, until tested positive for it. The Australian government has been urging us oldies to use a government issue mobile phone app, which allegedly will help track anyone who has been in contact with the virus. I am still trying to figure out how it works. :-\ The government seems to think that the more people take up this option, the sooner they can ease lockdown procedures.

Post Biblical plagues, or some of them, have coloured names attached to them. Tuberculosis has been called "the white plague", because of the wan appearance of its sufferers. There is no need to explain the Black Plague which recurred throughout the centuries from Medieval times, to the beginning of the 20th century, when people in Sydney were better informed of what to do to stop it in its tracks. The yellow plague, I understand, was definitely connected with Yellow fever, & in an article I read which has surely been discarded by now, red, orange or pink plagues might have also been mentioned, but I've forgotten which plague was connected with which other colours. That article finished by suggesting that this COVID-19 plague should be called the Blue plague because lack of oxygen turns people's lips blue. What does everyone think? /:)
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby Varnafinde » May 09, 2020 12:10 pm

A Swedish minister, Sussie Kårlin, was thinking about what the apostle Paul might have wanted to say to the Christian church in times like these. So she went through several of his letters, quoted and adapted the text as needed, and wrote the First Epistle to the People among Corona (1 Corona).

To make it easier to spread the text, it has been translated from Swedish into English and Finnish. The link above is to the English version, and her church has also published a file with all three versions.

Some quotes:

Paul wrote:I urge you, brothers like sisters, to comply and evade division in distant forms of encampment, stand united in prayer and in such guidelines given to you from your communal health jurisdiction. There lies said wisdom who can save lives and form you unsullied from contagion.


Paul wrote:I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the longing which you have carried before. In recent months, some of you struggled with stress and overbooked calendars. Many then sighed before the Lord and wished the Lord to provide more time for slumber and a day of rest, a holy Sabbath. Along these times, the opportunity has been given to some of you, but you have become saddened and filled with boredom and begun complaining like the people of Israel in the desert, although the Lord provides you with both manna and grace. Likewise these means, you also have access to the chapters of The Lord Jesus Christ’s life on Netflix and songs of praise on Youtube. No, bear with one another in love and make the most of every opportunity.


Paul wrote:Do not greet one another with a holy kiss any longer. No, relinquishing this is in truth real. I am even willing to go so far to ask you to limit your peace greeting handshakes at your gatherings. There will come a time, very soon, when these customs can return to our usage and then we will embrace one another in jubilant joy, but until then we renounce these customs out of love for our brothers.


Words worth to consider ... :-!
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby IloveFauns » May 10, 2020 3:59 am

waggawerewolf27 wrote:[

Maybe this is also true when national governments have more internal control & less disagreement amongst individual provinces, states & territories? The main problems in Australia, & in New Zealand, so far, has been with travel in general, especially incoming passengers bringing the virus from overseas. Respiratory diseases seem more transmissible when people congregate in large groups in closed spaces, & when on board planes or cruise ships such as the Diamond Princess, marooned in Japan, or most notoriously here, the Ruby Princess, where a bureaucratic mistake allowed passengers to alight from the ship with health check procedures incomplete. The inquiry is still proceeding.



Yes, the Ruby Princess was a disaster for NSW. South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, and Tassy have had many days of zero cases. In WA, we have had one known case in the past 10 days and this case was someone returning from overseas. This is one time in my life that I am thankful for living in the most isolated city in the world. I hope NSW and Vic get their cases under control soon. Although, compared to the majority of the world, cases in these states are very minimum.

I can finally visit my family starting from the 18th (they live in a different section of the state, and WA segmented itself into 7 regions). I have a brother and sister who live in the same region as me which has been good. However, as restrictions are being lifted in WA...I do worry about a second outbreak. I believe only 20 people are allowed in a restaurant/pub/bar at one time. My friend who works in this industry (she oversees advertising for events at venues) says many won't reopen until 100+ gatherings are allowed because no profit will be made if only 20 people can enter at a time. However, I will not be risking attending venues beyond my family and close friends before it is considered safe. If not for myself, for people I live with who have health complications.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby coracle » May 10, 2020 4:57 am

In New Zealand we will hear tomorrow (Monday) whether we will reduce the level of lockdown and when. It may be in steps, or in regions.
We too have had a low number of cases (under 1500), with 21 deaths so far.
We too hope not to have a second wave.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby coracle » May 13, 2020 12:55 am

We are going onto Level 2 in about 4 hours (midnight). One barber shop is opening right after midnight! Everyone else will be doing a revised version of their shops (stores) and businesses, if they have not been open up till now. Cafes, shops, hair salons etc will have to follow strict rules about spacing, numbers and personal safety gear (I am booked at the hairdresser next Monday, and he will presumably be covered up while he makes me look fabulous).
Schools will open on Monday, and they will be doing things a bit differently. Bars open last, not for another week, because they have numbers to be controlled, and it's more complex than restaurants.

Meanwhile, today's statistics are: 0 new cases, 0 deaths. We are still under 1500 cases and 21 deaths, from our population of 4.8 million.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby fantasia » May 13, 2020 5:17 pm

Last night a couple of my fellow homeschooling moms set up a get-together of just us (no kids allowed!) We met in a parking lot and circled up with well more than six feet in between all of us. ;)) The irony was that it was INSANELY COLD!!! IN MAY!!!! So we were all huddled into our chairs with our coats and hats and blankets. :)) But it was really great to see each other again and hear how everyone is doing. :)

Our state opens up to Phase 2 on Monday. Gatherings of up to 30 people allowed and a few more commercial places are opening again, including gyms.
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Re: Navigating the Dark Island of the Covid-19

Postby johobbit » May 14, 2020 9:11 am

How great is that, fantasia?! :D

Good to hear, coracle. I hope the gradual opening continues to go well. :)

Good to see you, IlF! It sounds like you're being wise as restrictions begin lifting.

Interesting to read everyone's comments at this unusual and challenging time. :ymhug:

We are grateful that the COVID cases at the long-term care homes near to where my elderly dad lives have really leveled off. The military was called in to one of the homes there to support and assist, as it was in quite dire straits. Really good to know they are present every day. My dad lives in an independent apartment, and none of the more than 1,000 tenants in all the Towers there have contracted the virus. The leadership there have been superb in their handling of this.

Ontario, Canada is barely beginning Phase 1, with great care. With our long weekend upon us in one day, there have been mandates out everywhere for no gatherings larger than five people, and even they need to be physically-distanced.

We do not know if public schools will open up yet this school year. That decision is to be made early next week. Maybe for the month of June, with restrictions ... maybe not until September, and then no doubt still with restrictions.

Some Canadian universities are regretfully planning to maintain online learning when the Autumn term commences, rather than physical classes. Maybe they can begin meeting again in person when the second semester begins in 2021 ... ??

The huge Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto (end of August) has been cancelled this year. This is only the second time in its 141 years of operation. The first occasion was for five years throughout WW II, when the expansive facilities were needed for a Training and Recruitment Centre.

The world is changed. I feel it in the isolation. I feel it in the quiet. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost; and many now live who remember it. ;)
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