June 20, 2020

The longest day

Today is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. The Fremont Solstice Parade was on line this year and there were still naked bicyclists! I missed it cause I was working in the back yard, cleaning up. Summers in the Northwest are glorious and the sun finally set at 9:12 PM, twilight lasting until 10. Now it’s is all down hill until the winter solstice. Sigh. But today was a good day to get gardening done. The raspberries are already ripening and the strawberries have been divine.

I still have work to do. The pandemic is not going anywhere anytime soon. We are trying to catch up with patients that put off care during the shut down and make up for lost productivity. I was busy yesterday, full schedule and no video visits. It almost felt normal, except all of us wore masks. In Seattle, we are moving to Stage 2 of re-opening. We will see how we do. We have done well with avoiding a big wave and already I saw lots of people out at restaurant outdoors, seemingly appropriately distanced. Other events today will be watched for signs of super spreading. I hope the infections stay low.

Here, it seems we are learning to live with the pandemic. Other places, it seems almost like people have given up. Or maybe they don’t believe COVID-19 is real. I have seen some people say they don’t think they will get infected and if they do, they won’t get very sick. Sigh. I wish it worked that way. Wouldn’t life be easier? Magical thinking only gets you so far. I have seen it fail over the years with my patients, when they believe something won’t happen to them. So, they keep smoking, or they don’t take their meds for their treatable condition or they ignore that lump. Rural America seems on its way to a rude awakening. Many counties and small towns already have problems with access to medical care and hospitals. Many people also lack insurance so may not seek help. What has happened on the Navajo is now spreading to those areas. I am not sure how to help.

We definitely need to keep counteracting the bad information being passed. It can be everything from copper being protective to the belief that wearing masks is dangerous. How to help open minds? Not an easy thing. I know many of you have loved ones living in some of the risky places or even live in a hotspot yourself. Arming yourself with knowledge and skills to ferret out misinformation can help. I especially like this Infodemic Blog which teaches how to decide if a source is reliable. We need more of that. Another good source is Newsguardtech.com which has a Coronavirus misinformation tracking center. It is not political to help prevent infections.

We know the ways to prevent infection: distance, masks, hand washing, limiting time, face shields (glasses can help) if in a riskier setting, and being outdoors. Yay, summer.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, and keep a good distance. And have some fun, don’t forget that.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.