Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Coronavirus roundtable

Jim: Roundtable time. We'd refer you to C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" earlier today. This is our coronavirus roundtable. Illustration is Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Lady Liberty."

1lady liberty

Jim (Con't): So who likes the masks? Anyone?

Trina: I know of no one I work with -- doctors, nurses, techs, front desk, custodians, no one -- that likes wearing the masks.

Jim: They are irritating.

Trina: They are. And normally, they aren't worn all day.

Dona: I'm jumping in to note that (a) Trina's a nurse and (b) she's referring to surgical masks.

Trina: Correct. These are a pain. Much more so than cloth masks -- which we are forbidden from wearing at work. We have to wear each mask five times before we can toss it. And by the second time wearing it, when you breathe in, you have strands coming in your mouth. Normally, these masks would be worn in a surgery, for example. And you'd take them off before you went into another one -- using a fresh one for the next surgery. Now, in a clinic setting, for example, we are all required -- every worker -- to wear one of those masks and to do so for our entire shift -- except when eating lunch. This is irritating. I understand anyone who says that and makes that argument. It is also necessary. We have to take steps to slow the growth of the pandemic. If people have additional ideas, let's hear them. But I think first and foremost everyone needs to wear a mask. My opinion.

Dona: C.I. was asked about that and wrote how she wears one but she's not here to tell other adults what to do.

Trina: And I agree with that. I don't like having to tell people to put them on. They'll come in and they'll take them off. I'm not talking pulling it down to take a sip of water or something, I'm talking about taking it fully off or letting it hang off one ear. No. That's not appropriate. And if I see it, I have to say something. I sometimes help with screening. I'm at the front asking questions -- fever, etc. Taking temperatures, etc. And telling people put on the mask. It's not my place. We need a law of some form. I am not your mother.

Mike: You're my mother!

Trina: Ha ha. Yes, I am. But in terms of patients coming in, I am not their mother. It is not my job to police their behavior. If it's a law, I can simply cite the law.

Jess: That would be much more practical. I'm hearing people complaining and griping about this healthcare worker or this grocery store worker who made them put on a mask. As usual, the government's avoiding its job and its the people who are getting griped at and blamed. It's not Trina creating this, it's not C.I. The government needs to take accountability.

Ty: Donald Trump won't. If he orders masks, he loses some of his voters and he knows that.

Jim: Why?

Ty: Because they see this as a government intrusion.

Rebecca: Well it is. It's also necessary. And we need to be, as C.I. noted, having a national discussion about this issue. We need to all be participating to decide, as a nation, what needs to be done. That's how we own the decision as a country. I watch all the nonsense on cable news and it's amazing that they haven't done town halls asking what we need to do as a nation. They're cheap to produce, do it as a Zoom if you have to, and they will keep us all interested in terms of viewing. Town halls, the format itself, are popular.

Ruth: I would agree. We need that ownership. It doesn't need to be coming down from on high. I support the masks and I would participate in a town hall making the case for it.

Jim: Isaiah, you were telling me about something you saw. Isaiah's in Texas. Can you talk about that.

Isaiah: The governor, Greg Abbott, ordered masks last Thursday. And yet I was at the gas station on Saturday by lotto tickets and egg rolls -- I know we're not supposed to eat gas station food but the one by me has great egg rolls -- and I start out but groan because I don't have my mask. So I unlock, grab my mask and head out. Then marvel over the fact that there are six people in the store as customers and I'm the only one in a mask. Then I marvel over the fact that neither person at the two registers is wearing a mask. The lady who makes the egg rolls and chicken and burritos and corn dogs is wearing a mask and gloves. She and I are the only ones wearing a mask. I had to run into Walmart on Monday to pick up a prescription and it was right after five o'clock. I'm wearing a mask, all the people working there are wearing masks but I can count easily 11 people shopping who are not wearing masks. I kept thinking, "Did I misunderstand what the governor said?"

Ty: I've pulled it up at that governor's website and I'm going to read it and we'll have it in the roundtable with links.

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others. 
"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”
Additionally, the Governor released a new video message to coincide with his Executive Order, encouraging Texans to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep their communities safe. The video can be downloaded at this link and can also be viewed on YouTube.
View the Governor's Executive Order.

View the Governor's Proclamation.

Ty (Con't): And, Isaiah, if you use the link for the actual order, the governor states that it is effective "12:01 pm on July 3, 2020." So that would be Friday last. Everyone you saw should have been wearing masks.

Dona: Back in June, our governor ordered masks in public places, work, outdoors, etc. Are all the governors doing this? I don't think so. There's not a uniform standard and yet we have people traveling from state to state.

Betty: That's a good point. Can we do travel right now? Mike and Elaine are thinking about -- Mike's written about this at his site -- coming in way early for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Mike: We live in Hawaii. My family lives in Boston. Elaine and C.I. have a long standing tradition of doing Thanksgiving together and C.I. lives in the Bay Area. So we are concerned that as Thanksgiving approaches, they might ground flights or the coronavirus might be worse or whatever.

Elaine: I can do tele-med with my patients. So we are trying to figure out what to do. Of course, one of the things we thought we had on our side, we do not. We thought the summer would see a huge drop in the number of coronavirus cases and that's not happening. I'm glad Betty brought this topic up because we don't have any answers but I'm sure Mike, our daughter and myself are not the only one wondering how do we pull off the holidays in the coronavirus world?

Betty: If it's like it is now, I won't be going home to Atlanta. My father's at risk due to his age and due to having diabetes. We don't want to risk bringing something into the home. I hadn't even been thinking about how this might impact Thanksgiving or Christmas until Elaine and Mike were talking about it.

Marcia: Which goes to C.I.'s point n the snapshot today that we need to be having a national dialogue. In our family, Stan's my cousin, we're talking about two houses being set up -- at least two. One for elderly that would be especially strict on who gets in and on procedures in terms of cooking and in terms of cleaning.

Stan: Right. Again, this should be something we should be discussing as a nation. We want our family members to be safe. We want to see them, but we want them to be safe. We're thinking the at risk home will visit with the others via facetime or something like that. And we're tossing this out to our family members now so we can get feedback and so we can all make our decision together.

Cedric: We need to do that. I hadn't even thought about this and I read Mike's post and agreed with him on it. But I thought, "Oh, he lives in Hawaii and he needs to plan ahead in case their airport gets shut down or something." Ann and my family lives in the same basic area so no one's going to be flying in but that doesn't mean we don't need to be sorting this out now.

Ann: Agreed. And Stan and Marcia's talk about the at risk family members is something that we'll need to address in our family as well. I have to say, when the pandemic started -- when Trina pointed it out, she was ahead of WHO and the CDC -- I honestly didn't see this as something that would be effecting the winter holidays. I really didn't get it, did I?

Wally: I don't think most of us did. I'm trying to get my mom to fly out to California because I really don't see going to Florida. First off, it's a hot spot. Second off, she could relax here and have some fun.

Kat: I don't -- I don't know. I don't -- we're just being honest, right?

Jim: Absolutely.

Kat: Maybe there is an urgency taking place to find a vaccine but I don't feel it right now. Back in April, for instance, we had constant news about work being done. I don't see that kind of coverage now. I'm sure it's taking place, work on the vaccine, but what happened to the sense of urgency?

Ava: A really good question. I think some have become complacent, I think some have enough stress and have to focus on other things. For example, Kat, you and Elaine have both heard from readers of your sites that they would prefer you focus on music when possible. That's not because they don't care about the coronavirus. It's because they're overwhelmed.

Jim: Pause everybody. Ava had finished speaking and I wanted to give C.I. time to write that down and give Ava time to be ready to take over -- they take the notes during the roundtables. Okay, C.I.?

C.I.: As Ava was saying, some people are overwhelmed. It's perfectly normal to be overwhelmed during a pandemic. That's another reason I won't be telling people what to do. I'm happy to share what I do and why I do it. But adults who are trying so hard to cope with this really don't need someone telling them what they have to do. If the government wants or needs to, that's one thing. But no one needs me to tell them what to do. Not how to address the coronavirus, not who to vote for. If you're feeling pressured already, you certainly don't need anyone bossing you around. If there are orders or laws put in place, they need to be followed -- or legally challenged, if you feel that's the case -- but you don't need people in your business telling you what to do. We are all under enough stress and worry and, as Trina said, I'm not your mother, I'm not your sheriff, you don't need me to tell you what to do.

Jim: Is anyone here opposed to wearing masks?

Trina: I think we all are. I'm sick of them. But I think we also support wearing them for safety.

Ty: I would agree with what Trina's saying. I do need to note something, if you shave -- even Magic Shave -- you're going to have irritation with a mask on. It's a pain. But for me, it's a pain I endure because this is about safety.

Jim: Okay, with that we're going to wind things up. This is a rush transcript. Best e-mail to reach us is or

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