Thursday, February 27, 2020

Chivas and Coronavirus

Mr. Slovakia finally responded to my Facebook message, and came over to pick up his lost ID card yesterday morning. He seems like a totally nice guy. He said he dropped it while running and didn't even initially realize he'd lost it. He brought us a bottle of Chivas Regal as a thank-you gift. I've never been a whiskey drinker, but maybe I'll start!

We're having more rain this morning. Olga went to the back door when she got up this morning, but when I opened it and she felt the rain she turned right around and headed for the couch.

Coronavirus is all over the news here, even though the UK hasn't had many cases (so far). This is usually a very heavy travel season for our students but right now everything is looking doubtful. Our school has canceled a few trips and I think more may be on the chopping block, including Dave's big annual excursion with the music students. They were supposed to head to Prague in a few weeks, but given the viral hot spots in continental Europe that may not happen.

It still seems to me that this is basically just a nasty flu. I don't mean to tempt fate, and I can see why out of an abundance of caution organizations like our school can't risk exposing people to it. But the vast majority of healthy people who contract it do recover, and some apparently don't even show symptoms. I'm more concerned about Dave than myself, because he takes immunosuppressive drugs for his Crohn's disease. He's going to talk to his doctor about whether that treatment needs to change in the short term, or if there are other medical steps he should be taking.

(You watch -- I'll be the one who gets sick, now.)

I'm starting to think about when to put our foxgloves in the ground. They're already outside, growing in pots, so there's probably no disadvantage to planting them now. The question is, where will I find the space?! We have twelve of them -- six that I grew from seed and six that a co-worker gave me. I hope I can remember what's already in the ground so I don't mistakenly plant them on top of something else!

(Photos: Faces on a building in West Hampstead, last month.)


  1. Caution is important when there are a lot of unknowns. Enjoy your Chivas.

  2. Thick snow coming down here at the moment. (8.50am). The velux windows are getting covered, and it is settling on the pavement . Alexi took one look out of the back door and decided no spite of there being a fox standing on the lawn about 5 metres from the house!! My foxgloves are still in their pots, under slight cover.....I checked them yesterday. Looking forward to some warmer weather and I can plant them out.

  3. PS I know it will be sacrilege for some people, but try that whisky with either lemonade or one of those upmarket fruity fizzy drinks that are around these days......makes it almost nice! We had a bottle given to us at Xmas and it went down quite well with a mixer!

  4. How splendid that the Slovakian gentleman said "thank you" with such a gift. Very kind. Little did he know that you would have been happier to receive some shards of broken pottery or the plastic head of a vintage "Barbie" doll or an unidentified plant found in a skip (American: dumpster).

  5. Good to hear that id and owner are reunited.
    Apparently flu viruses are far worse than Covid19 ...makes you wonder what is happening

  6. What a nice thank-you gift... although I don’t drink it either. Good for disinfecting, I suppose.

  7. I'm with you on the hoo haa of this virus. Certainly Dave and Tom may be affected more by it but most people would be fine. I'm sick of hearing about it now.
    Like you I have a couple of Hollyhocks in pots waiting to go our but am frightened that we will get snow.
    May have to take a chance.

  8. What a nice ending to your ID story! That really is very cool.

  9. not too many cases here. I think the ones here were the people from the airplane or cruise ship that got brought back home. but I did read a case popped up in California and the man had not traveled. but of course Trump has slashed the CDC budget, hundreds of jobs unfilled, closed the department that coordinated global pandemic response, and put Pence in charge, the guy that saw HIV explode in his state through his non-management. Trump is more concerned about the effect on the stock market and its effect on his reelection.

    29˚ here when I woke up at 7 AM.

  10. What a lovely thank you gift. I hope you do not get the virus. Viruses can be deadly. Just look back in history. Sadly, it's affecting a lot of us even though we don't have it. Hopefully, the crisis will be over soon. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  11. A lovely ending to the ID story. So nice that he brought a gift when he picked it up.
    I've been reading Facebook posts by a woman who was on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and is now in quarantine at the Travis Air Force base here in California. It's such an interesting saga unfolding these past four weeks. It's enlightening to read a first-hand account of this. The first case of unknown origin was just diagnosed at UC Davis yesterday. I'm not worried particularly about the illness itself as much as I am worried about the chaos and disruption that surrounds it. But wow do I ever feel safe knowing that Mike Pence is in charge. NOT! LOL!

  12. The virus is all over the news here too. In fact, they reported a case in California this morning that they can find no connection with any known traveler or other source. So, they don't know how it developed. That's a worrying development. At the moment, I'm not worried but I do have to admit that I've been washing my hands a lot more often than before. I have a good immune system but my age is a factor of concern. The thought of spending several hours on an airplane is not very appealing right now.

  13. the uncertainty of caronavirus is what causes the worry. we don't know what this virus will. do. we have to prepare for the worst.

  14. Flu mortality is 0.1%, coronavirus is 2% for sure, possibly edging towards 3%. So, yeah, the symptoms are similar but the outcomes are worse. The older your are, the more likely you are to die. Great. The medical response to the person in California was just abysmal. Even though he showed symptoms, they wouldn't test him for several days because he didn't meet the guidelines for testing, no China travel or contact with people who traveled. This does not fill me with confidence in CDC processes and procedures.

  15. I'm glad you finally got that fellow and his card reunited but I would have been less than happy with the Chivas too though as they say, it's the thought that counts.

  16. Today Dr. Sanjay Gupta attempted to explain, on air on CNN, that the smaller total of corona deaths is a higher percentage out of a smaller total group of cases than the flu's larger total but lower percentage of deaths out of a larger total of cases. Therefore corona is definitely cause for concern, especially since it's new and spreading so fast.

    Unfortunately the person he was speaking to was Donald Trump, who flat out told Dr. Gupta he'e got his numbers wrong, on air on CNN.

    FYI, Dr. Gupta is a highly respected, well-known U.S. physician with a media presence who was offered the job of Surgeon General in Obama's administration and turned it down because he wanted to continue his mission to educate on social media.

  17. Enjoy the Chivas.

  18. Interesting trying to find the percentage of deaths to flu...the numbers are 290,000 to 650,000 pa. It looks as if the percentage depends upon the virus strain, and can vary from 2% to 20% and higher, as with H5N1.

  19. I'm glad the guy got his ID back - and I agree with YP about what would have been a more appropriate gift for you. Ha! I'm curious about the faces - are they being restored, or is one just unpainted? Interesting!

  20. A thank you gift -- Mr. Slovakia has manners! Even if you don't drink it, maybe you could set it out for your next dinner guests and it would be enjoyed. I laughed at YP's comment.

    Considering how sick I get with regular colds (I have asthmatic bronchii) I will be doing whatever I can to avoid this COVID-19 bug. I'm hoping by the time it strikes our little province there will be a vaccine for it. We have a Nova Scotian lab actually working on that, believe it or not. I would be worried about Dave as well. Chronic illness makes every other bug worse.

  21. Sorry, wrong info there - the NS lab is working on a test for the virus that returns results within several minutes. Not a vaccine, unfortunately.

  22. How lovely to get a bottle of Chivas. Tasty stuff. No mixer, with the exception of a little soda.
    I urge you and everyone to watch Dr. John Campbell on YouTube about the real data and advice for this virus. He is a respected doctor, not selling anything and not making a dime off of these informative videos. I have been following him for six weeks when I first became concerned about this virus. I cannot believe those who aren't taking this seriously and educating themselves. No one can rescue you. You all need to prepare.

  23. The corona virus. The media hype, the
    conjecture, the panic. Use your common sense people. And always remember all life is a risk. If that thought is too terrible to contemplating then maybe you should cclimb into the cupboard under the stairs and stay there until the threat has passed.
    Chivas. A very civilized gift. No lemonade and fizzy, sweet stuff is required. I recall fifty years ago Scotch and lemonade was a fad here. Grown barmen wept and those that didn't snorted with derision and had to be restrained from reaching across the bar and choking the person who ordered the drink.

  24. E: That's certainly true, but our approach to coronavirus seems to surpass mere caution. I think people are a little too worked up about it.

    Frances: I will try the mixer approach! I was going to get some whiskey sour mix, but apparently the stores here don't carry it. I'm told I need to order it online. Ugh!

    YP: It was VERY nice of him. I think I only want those other things if I find them! If people give them to me, well, that's no fun.

    GZ: Of course any virus can be serious for some people, right? I just think we all need to take a deep breath.

    Mitchell: Ha! The whiskey kitchen wipe-down. Now THAT is sacrilege, I'm sure.

    Briony: Well, I guess there's no rush -- but my foxgloves are already sitting outside in pots and have been all winter, so there doesn't seem to be any reason not to put them in the ground. They'd get snowed on in any case!

    Ms Moon: It was a very nice surprise. What goes around comes around, I guess!

    Ellen: Well, this thing is going to spread, and that's just a fact. I guess there's an interesting moral question in considering how far we're willing to go to stop it.

    Edna: Yes, they certainly CAN be deadly. For most people, though, this one won't be. Unless it mutates, which is always a possibility.

    Robin: Mike Pence. Ugh. He'll pray it away.

    Sharon: Hand-washing is ALWAYS a good idea anyway! I've been doing the same at work, given how many books and materials I handle in the course of a day.

    Red: Well, it's true that the virus could change and become more virulent. I don't know enough about viruses to know how likely that is.

    Allison: It makes you wonder how many people have it and slip through the net -- with cases that are never detected.

    Catalyst: Yeah, I'd have preferred a bottle of gin, but maybe it's nice to have the ol' routines disrupted!

    Lynn Marie: Well, Donald Trump is an idiot. I don't mean to be as dismissive as he's being. And I understand Dr. Gupta's point. But it's still a small percentage of infected people who face a life-threatening situation. I'm not dismissing it out of hand, just trying to keep it in perspective.

    R's Rue: We'll figure out something to do with it!

    John: They're all already plants at this point -- the seeds were planted last year.

    Bug: They're on different (but adjacent) buildings so they're just painted differently. I like the shiny, glossy paint on the second one, though!

    Jenny-O: We're actually having people over on Saturday, so we'll offer it up then!

    Penelope: OK, I'll take a look at Campbell. And I'll try the Chivas with some soda!

    Alphie: Well, exactly. That's how I feel. There's a small amount of risk in everything, right? That's just part of being alive.

  25. It is a nasty flu but it has a higher mortality rate than regular influenza. 2% mortality rate doesn't sound so bad until you start looking at large populations. One million people infected means 20,000 people dead. I think the scary part about this virus is that it's easily transmittable.
    The other problem will be quarantines. What happens when you close a school? Or all the schools in a city? Who takes care of those children? Their parents and those parents can't go to work.
    Supply chains can be interrupted. When Puerto Rico was hit be the hurricane, we suffered a shortage of medical supplies because a lot of medical supplies were produced in Puerto Rico.
    I guess we'll see what happens.

    I guess we'll see.