By Day 18 of Quarantine, Getting Mail is Exciting

What does it say about our time in quarantine that getting mail is now the highlight of our day?

After letting it sit quietly for two days to kill off any potential coronaviruses that clung to our mail, we finally opened the bag of mail we picked up this weekend. I was pleased to get a catalog from Murray McMurray hatcheries, which we consider to be a premier source of chicks and other poultry.  Looking at their catalog is like looking at a seed catalog: you can check out all the varieties and plan your future.

I’m thinking of buying a dozen or so layers and seeing how they do as a test.  Then later, we can purchase some larger meat birds and raise them up for eight weeks and fill the freezer.  It’s definitely a plan, I’m just not sure it’s one we’ll execute this year.  We’ve got quite a few balls in the air and I’m not sure if we want to add another one to the mix, but my wife is in favor of chickens, so that means its probably going to happen.

I also received my favorite firearms magazine and the latest edition of Backwoods Home Magazine, which I have been reading since the year 2000. If you have any desire to homestead or be more self sufficient, Backwoods Home is chock full of useful information and a must read.   They also have a good web site and sell a variety of useful books.

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COVID-19 Growth Steady

The COVID-19 death rate in the United States pushed past the 3,000 mark, reaching 3,073 as of this morning. That’s an increase of 24 percent or 587, the largest one-day death toll for the U.S.

Total reported COVID-19 cases in the United States climbed to 163,575, and increase of 21,580 or 15 percent.  The percentage of growth is in line with yesterday’s number,  meaning we are holding our own.  While the 21,580 figure represents an increase from the number reported yesterday, it remains less than the 20,981 where we peaked two days ago.  It will be interesting to see if the rate of growth continues to slow or even hold steady tomorrow.  Either outcome would be positive news.

Reversing yesterday’s decline, case growth in New York State jumped 13,538 to 67,174, an increase of 25 percent.  This reversion to the prior rate of growth causes me to wonder if Sunday’s numbers were down simply because it was a weekend and fewer people were tested.  As of this morning, New York reports 9,517 COVID-19 patients have required hospitalization and 2,352 are sever enough to have been moved to the ICU.

Globally, Johns Hopkins reports more than 803,000 cases, a growth rate of about 9 percent, and 39,000 deaths.  At this rate, we’ll see one million cases by the weekend.  Italy, which has the most cases after the U.S. at 101,739 is seeing a slight slowdown in reported cases.  The hard-hit country, which leads the world in reported deaths at 11,591, may finally be seeing the light at the end of the rainbow.  Like the U.S., it will take a few days of continued decreases to confirm this trend.

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Day 17 – Adventures in Online Grocery Shopping

It’s been 11 days since we last got groceries and we’re completely out of fresh vegetables, so I went back to the online store where we had previously purchased groceries and tied to log in.  No luck.  Apparently their systems were so swamped that I could not shop there. This lead to what I am calling our adventures in grocery shopping.

We tried another store that had no delivery dates in the next 48 hours, which is frustrating because I had painstakingly added everything to the cart only to find out that there were no open time slots during which we could pick up or schedule delivery of our groceries.

I had to try two more stores before I could find one that would schedule me pick up groceries on April 1st. It’s further away, but I can live with that.

I’ll report back on how our adventures in grocery shopping end up, after we take delivery and find out how many of the 45 items we ordered are actually delivered.

The next time we need fresh vegetables, I’m think I’m going to head to a local farm stand.  Even if they don’t have celery.

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COVID-19 Growth Rate Slows in U.S.

It’s Monday morning, which means back to work for those lucky enough to still have jobs and back to our screens for the rest of us as we rush to see this morning’s harvest of coronavirus news, more shutdowns and the unending assault of bickering politicians. But for anyone looking into the details there is some good news.

The country has seen a decrease in both the number of new COVID-19 cases reported and its rate of growth, a significant piece of good news.  Reported cases of COVID-19 increased 18,378 to 141,995, an increase of 15 percent.  Deaths also grew more slowly, climbing 353 to 2,486, an increase of 17 percent.

Cases in New York also decrease, growing only 12 percent to 59,568.  Yesterday, New York Governor Cuomo reported two consecutive days of a decrease in the number of new admissions to both hospitals and ICUs, which is good news for the state and, because it represents a significant portion of the country’s cases, the United States.  As you can see in our lead graphic, Cuomo pointed out in yesterday’s press conference that while cases in New York are still growing, the rate of growth is slowing.

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16 Days in Quarantine: Life Goes On

It’s Day 16 and we’ve totally adapted to being locked in. I guess whomever it was that said it takes two weeks to make something a habit was right. I mean, I know there’s a real world out there, but I no longer miss it. I’m just grateful for my iPhone tells is or I would have no idea what day of the week it is.

I’m happy to report that life goes on, even if it is a modified version of our normal life. 

I made my weekly trip to the post office to pick up our mail. Due to the coronavirus, I go weekends and hope no one else is there. There was so much mail, they had left me a key and put everything in one of those larger boxes.  I wore a pair of disposable gloves while I got the mail and filled up a large, reusable shopping bag.  I put the bag in the trunk and carefully stripped of the gloves before getting into the car.  We’ll let the mail sit a day or two before we sort it.

That was the first time I’d left the house in a week.  Traffic volume was noticeably lower; I guess people are finally taking these stay home or shut down order seriously. 

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COVID-19 Growth may be Slowing in U.S.

America has now suffered 2,133 deaths from the coronavirus, more than a third of them in New York State. That’s an increase of 487, or 30 percent, since yesterday. In another sad milestone, Italy surpassed 10,000 deaths, a point the U.S. could reach in a week if we continue to progress at our current rate.

COVID-19 growth may be slowing in the U.S. as cases grew to 123,617 since this time yesterday, an increase of 20,981 or just over 20 percent.  Two consecutive days of 20 percent growth, down from a rate that was between 25 and 30 percent, is positive news and maybe an early sign that the lockdown orders are working to flatten the curve.  What we need to see is that the rate of growth continues to decline even as testing ramps up.

Case growth in New York State, the epicenter of U.S. COVID-19 infections also slowed, climbing only 16 percent to 53,363, a jump of 7,359 cases in the past 24 hours.  The reduction in the rate of growth is also good news and should help New York’s aggressive hospital building plan stay ahead of demand.  Right now, New York has 7,328 people hospitalized with 1,755 in ICU units

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Day 15: Saving Money During Quarantine

I start out every day with at least $40 of cash in my pocket. Thanks to the Coronavirus, I’ve unloaded the same $40 from my pocket every night for several weeks. I guess you could say it’s being quarantined.

I am definitely spending less money during this quarantine period than I would on an average week, and it’s not because people are afraid they’ll get coronavirus from cash.  It’s because I’m not leaving the house.  We’ve only purchased groceries once, filled the gas tank once, and bought takeout pizza once.  As COVID-19 increases, our spending opportunities decrease.

But generally speaking, I prefer cash over cards, and anyone with the prepper mindset should be aware of when and why to buy items with cash rather than via an electronic payment method.  Because anything electronic has a good chance of becoming part of what is known as “Big Data,” that giant database a number of companies are compiling on you, often without your awareness or permission.

Cash Provides Anonymity

If you buy alcohol, cigarettes or any other vices, you might want to consider using cash because chances are good your insurance provider either is or will one day be monitoring your health by monitoring your credit card and bank card charges and will adjust your rates accordingly.

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U.S. Tops 100,000 Coronavirus Cases

The United States surpassed 100,000 cases of COVID 19 yesterday, adding 17,255 cases in the past 24 hours to reach a total of 102,636. That reflects an increase case load of 20 percent. The death toll is now 1,646, an increase of 375 or 30 percent.

The coronavirus is firmly entrenched on both coasts and appears to be spreading from the East Coast into the Midwest, with 16 states now exceeding 1,000 cases and only five states with fewer than 100.

Globally, the count now exceeds 615,000 with more than 28,000 dead.  Italy alone will probably surpass 10,000 dead in the next 24 hours.

As of this morning, New York state has reported 46,004 cases COVID-19 cases, an increase 8,747, or 23 percent, in the past 24 hour.  Close to 90 percent of all state cases  are in the New York City Metrolitan area, subrubs and Long Island.  Approximately 27,000 cases are in New York City.

In the past week, the New York metro area has torn past Seattle and cities in California that had early coronavirus infections to lead the country in COVID-19 cases.

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Quarantine Day 14, Sunshine and Phone Time

We had French toast for breakfast, made with our homemade bread, and it wasn’t bad. As you can see in the photo, I let the load bake a bit too long and the crust was thicker and harder than I like. This bread would make great croutons, stuffing, or bread crumbs. But it is filling; two slices will hold you for many hours.

Thankfully, the rain has passed and we’ve been able to work outside for two days.  The blue birds are nesting, the cherry tree blooms lie in blankets of color on the ground, and the dogwoods are hitting their stride, marking an early spring indeed.

It is still several weeks before our average last frost date, but we have some plants ready to be moved from flats into the soil, which is warm enough to support starts and germination of early varieties.  We may have to put in some lettuce and spinach seeds in the ground to see how they do.

Phone Time

When I was working 10 hours a day, I rarely had time to call anyone socially.  We’d send a few texts or I’d call while I was commuting home.  I talked to one of my kids weekly and the other one less often.  We were far more likely to get together for a meal with a friend in the area than talk on the phone.

Boy has that changed.

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U.S. Sets COVID-19 Milestones

The U.S. broke a couple records yesterday, and none of them were good. First, we surpassed Italy and China in terms of the most reported cases. Second, we zoomed past the 1,000 deaths threshold. Third, New York experienced more than 100 deaths due to the coronavirus.

Since yesterday, reported cases of COVID 19 in the U.S. climbed to 85,381 an increase of 16,847 or 25 percent.  Deaths grew from 990 to 1,271, an increase of 281 or 28 percent. 

Records were also set on a worldwide basis.  The global count exceeded half a million cases and 24,000 deaths.  As of this morning, the Johns Hopkins tracker is reporting more than 551 cases, a jump of 88,000 or 19 percent from yesterday. While the virus is spreading with increasing rapidity in countries like India and Russia, growth continues unabated across Europe, with its epicenter in Italy and Spain.

About the only good news is that New York reported an increase of only 5,921 confirmed cases to 38,987, a growth rate of only 18 percent, its lowest rate in weeks.  Perhaps the governor’s lockdown order and social distancing is having a positive effect.  But as I have said before, one day is not a trend.

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