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Don’t interpret "low" risk as time to return to normal

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Governor Herbert’s color-coded health guidance system now has Box Elder, Cache, and Rich Counties in the “yellow” or low risk phase. We know this comes as a relief to many, because it means we “flattened the curve” and avoided overwhelming our local health care system with sick COVID-19 patients.



This outcome came at a terrible cost for many individuals and businesses. Our routines were uprooted, people lost their incomes, businesses suffered major losses, and travel plans were postponed.


And people have suffered. This week, we exceeded 100,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been over 1,700,000 cases, with over 8,800 in Utah. Some cases involved hospitalization, but most people have stayed home with fever or chills, a cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, or a number of other symptoms. Recovery occurs, but we don’t yet know the long-term impact of this disea…

WTF? Or MWF? COVID-19 reflections on shared time and space

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Novel Distancing - the new normal

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The phrase "social distancing" is now in everyone's vocabulary. Caroline tells me that the phrase is troubling to her, because social interactions are critical to our well-being, and people should avoid social isolation. In the Age of COVID-19, the trick is to socialize safely.  I think we will call it novel distancing... a new normal of distancing.  Socialize, yes.  But watch your spacing!

Novel distancing can be defined as increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. It should have no relationship to the degree of socialization between people.  For COVID-19, the prescribed distance is 6 feet, although I came across a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of only 3 feet!  The average arm length for an adult male is about 25 inches, and probably a tad less for women.  So in novel distancing, not only should you not be able to touch another person, but neither of you should be able to touch each other with your arms extended.  In other …

Covid-19 observations from the high risk camp...

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At the time I write this, the coronavirus Covid-19 continues its march around the globe. I've written previously about my experience flying to Hawaii after 2 Caribbean cruises with thousands of passengers, including dozens (I assume) from China, and when arriving at HNL, I was "lyfted" home with nary a question on February 3. Later that week, I wrote to Dr. Bruce Anderson, the director of the Hawaii Department of Health, after attending a briefing at the Manoa Neighborhood Board meeting:

"As I listened to your presentation, I reflected that 3 days earlier, I had returned from a Caribbean cruise, with numerous people on board from Asian counties. Yet there was no question for me when I entered Hawaii. Perhaps the agricultural form that all visitors and residents are required to complete before entering the state needs to have a few questions regarding travel and health."

Dr. Anderson replied, "As far as I know, all airline and cruise ship passengers are infor…

Coronavirus ramblings and a lucky miss...

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This was an interesting time to be on a cruise ship.  Caroline and I had left the Celebrity Edge for the Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas in January.  On January 11, China reported the first coronavirus (COVID-19) fatality.  On January 23, Chinese authorities closed off the metropolis of Wuhan, reporting 17 deaths and 570 cases.  On January 31, the Trump administration suspended entry from any foreign traveler who had traveled to China in the past 14 days.  On this date, 213 deaths had been reported and about 9,800 people were reported infected.  On February 5th, crew and guests on the cruise ship Diamond Princess were quarantined in a Japanese port.  On February 21, the number of worldwide cases topped 75,000.

After spending much of January on cruise ships with a very large international component, we arrived in Hawaii on February 3.  Within the past 14 days, we had interacted with numerous people on two ships, including guests from China. You can't escape mingling, in the…