Betting on the Come ..

Betting on the Come” is a gambling term. In cards, it’s when a player doesn’t quite have the hand s/he needs, but will place or increase their bet in the hopes they’ll get the card they need to win.

For me, it’s a Craps term. I play Craps .. well, when I can get to Las Vegas (and I’m hoping to in the coming year .. has been too long). ‘Betting on the Come’ in Craps means the dice select the number on which your bet will be placed, and when this number is thrown again (before a 7), the player wins. I know .. it sounds a bit circular. Think of it as a Quick Pick in Lotto.

I am not a Doctor ..“, but I feel like the states that are opening in defiance of the “Support for States, Tribes, Localities and Territories” guidance published by the CDC are ‘Betting on the Come’. Now, in cards or in craps, it means money is on the table and a bet can be lost.

With COVID-19, it can mean:

  • At the least, longer in Shelter in Place for many (or all).
  • The risk of a second wave.
  • At the worst: an increase in the numbers of cases and deaths.

.. or any / all of the above.

The states are betting on things like:

  • People will “Behave Like They Have It ..“, practicing social distancing, wearing masks, avoiding large groups, and so many other activities that protect all of us.
  • People, Cities and States will protect the most vulnerable from those who behave (or don’t).
  • Hospital resources can handle any additional capacity from those who behave (or don’t).
  • States and Communities will roll out “Testing, Testing, Testing” and “Contact Tracing“.
  • Remdesivir will give critical patients an extra edge to survive .. but note this is only after they’re hospitalized.
  • Herd Immunity will start to grow, protecting the bulk of the population (not necessarily the most vulnerable).
  • A vaccine will appear .. the earliest, and only for emergency use, is projected to January 2021.

We’re a big, diverse country. The states

In short (too late!) “Let’s Not Undo ..” all that we’ve gone through up to this point. Let’s not roll back the clock and the wave of infection growth to two weeks past (the incubation period) pre-shelter levels. For context:

  • Shelter in Place appeared mid- to end-of-March (I’ve been SIP since March 13th and Georgia Ordered and Commanded it on April 1st.).
  • On April 1st, the US death toll was ~4,300.
  • The present US death toll (noon on May 1, 2020) is 63,127.

30 days. 59,123 lives lost. This is with Shelter in Place, Social Distancing and all the rest.

It’s not just me: “As states ease coronavirus restrictions, some are taking a ‘significant risk,’ Fauci says“. He also “.. warns states against ‘leapfrogging’ guidelines on reopening“.

They (the States) are .. leapfrogging, that is.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.


Remdesivir (I had to add it to spell check). From the maker of the product:

Remdesivir is an investigational nucleotide analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity – it is not approved anywhere globally for any use.

I had to look some other bits up too:

  • A Nucleotide is a compound consisting of a nucleoside linked to a phosphate group. Nucleotides form the basic structural unit of nucleic acids such as DNA.
  • A phosphate group is made when a phosphorus atom is surrounded by four oxygen atoms and then attached to (one of many) carbon-containing molecules in our bodies.
  • A phosphate group can activate proteins, referred to as phosphorylated. When phosphorylated, a protein is activated and can do a different job, such as carrying a message to another protein in the cell, or even phosphorylating another protein.

:: whew ::

That’s as far as I got down the rabbit hole before I remembered the words of Dr. Fauci:

“The data shows that Remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery ..”


“What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.”

It does so by blocking an enzyme that the virus uses, slowing the growth / spread within a patient.

You’ve read the results by now: in a small (but significant) test, people who were administered the drug (intravenously) recovered three days sooner (11-14 days) than those in the placebo group. This is significant because:

  • Getting well is always better .. although this cohort would have likely gotten well on their own.
  • Shorter duration is always better .. less time for the virus to do damage to your lungs or other organs.
  • It gives us all some hope .. and helps revise targets for the researchers.

It is not a cure .. you have to have the virus for it to be effective. It slows the growth of the virus so your body can build the antibodies to kill it.

It is good news. Please don’t read my notes above in any way that says otherwise. It doesn’t get us out of the woods .. We still have to avoid undoing all the good we’ve done, and testing is still a critical factor in getting to a ‘newer normal’.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

Let’s Not Undo ..

.. all the good effort .. let’s not re-do all the pain.

Let’s not waste what we’ve gained in the form of:

  • Lower case count ..
  • Lower hospitalization count ..
  • Lower death count ..

.. because we’re impatient, have cabin fever or don’t believe .. or don’t behave.

Some states (including the one in which I live) are opening prematurely and potentially carelessly.

Prematurely in that:

Georgia might meet the criteria for hospital beds and ICUs (I couldn’t find these numbers). It also sounds like PPE is finally flowing and medical staff is less strained. But even with impressive medical capacities, we are flying blind.

Carelessly in that the types of businesses the Georgia Governor has chosen to open (see “Georgia on my Mind ..“). The short version:

  • It’s physically impossible to get a hair cut or style from six feet away.
  • Or getting a tattoo .. or a massage.
  • On Monday, restaurants and movie theatres were allowed to open (guidelines therein). Note that even at reduced capacity (seats in a theatre, tables in a restaurant) patrons who enter will touch the same door handles, interact with the same people for a duration, breathe the same air, use the same restrooms, etc.

It is incumbent on the individual businesses to:

  • Protect their employees.
  • Protect their customers.
  • Protect against contributing to additional spread.
  • .. and more. Many business have heard the call to open and what some businesses have said back.

Our discipline has flattened the curve and slowed the spread. The effort has been no less than tremendous. The numbers are lower than originally cited because of this. While this has proven to be an unbelievable challenge for many families, businesses and to our economy, it was the only tool in our kit to combat the virus at scale. We do not want to undo these efforts and prolong the pain.

The “Numbers are Good ..” because of our vigilance. Our vigilance ensures the Healthcare Heroes are not overwhelmed.

Be smart. If you go out, avoid close contact, large groups, and “Behave Like You Have It ..“. Assume others are similar risks to you as you are to them.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

Maybe I’m Coming Late To This Party ..

.. wouldn’t be the first time.

After posting “Updated Symptoms for COVID-19“, I went through my emails in January as I recalled that I felt poorly in January. I had attributed it to my office as the primary AC return vents are therein, and the temperature varies widely. My case was mild .. light fever, chills, foggy head and general aches / pains that went on for about five days. My solution was to WFH where I felt better.

So .. two bits out of this:

  • Did I have it? Not sure .. It was odd, and I’m rarely sick.
  • How would I get an antibody test?

No clue as to either. I’ve written my PCP and Atlanta Blood Services (I donate platelets regularly) to see if I could be tested the next time I donate .. but other than these two avenues, I have no idea how to get a test.

Now, I wrote at length about “The Resolved” .. those who have had the virus where I suggested that antibody testing is critical, and we don’t know (yet) if all detected antibodies are viable against COVID-19, or if they are persistent for all time. Please recall that we receive various ‘boosters’ from time to time to ensure initial inoculations remain viable.

So .. step by step, learning every day, we sort the issues this Novel Coronavirus creates for us .. and we conquer them. Right now the most important and powerful weapon in our arsenal is the ability to avoid transferring the virus amongst ourselves, which replenishes and extends the reservoir that will come back to haunt us.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

Updated Symptoms for COVID-19

I just heard on the news that the CDC has updated their symptom list for COVID-19 .. there isn’t a date to confirm if there’s anything new-new (some are new to me). The list includes:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

The other bit that looks updated is “Should you Get Tested” .. but note that the only reason to run to the hospital is if you’re showing severe symptoms. That said, “I’m not a Doctor ..” check with yours.

Other guidance that has surfaced takes into account when you may felt any of these symptoms for them to be relevant .. some notes:

Other areas may have had returning visitors from Asia in or around that timeframe .. but at the time we weren’t actively looking for it. There were also some early deaths attributed to pneumonia .. some are being investigated, I’m sure, but these are lower priority than getting testing going.

Recall the virus transmits asymptomatically .. carriers don’t know they have it. This suggests we may be able to surmise the earliest you could have had it (barring returning from Wuhan yourself) is sometime in January. So:

  • If you had similar symptoms in the November-December timeframe, it was most likely a cold or the flu.
  • If you had similar symptoms in the January-February timeframe, it could have been COVID-19 and you may have fought it off with minor discomfort. You also might have the antibodies.

While New York is Ground Zero for the US impact and the broadest testing thus far, they are finding antibody-positive rates as high as 14% from a sample across the state (references to this in “It Takes A Village .. And An Army“) .. this suggests that these people are now immune and could return to work. Still some unknowns:

  • We don’t know ‘how’ immune. Forever? Or for a little while?
  • We don’t know if they can still ‘shed’ the virus if they are exposed again.

I go a bit deeper in “The Resolved” .. albeit this is an earlier post. The main point I land therein is “Testing, Testing, Testing“.

We need more tests.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

It Takes A Village .. And An Army

For the ‘new normal’, that is.

It takes a village to:

  • Support each other.
  • Protect each other through our behaviors.
  • Stay connected to each other.

It will take an Army to do Contact Tracing.

The short bit (by no means complete .. I’m sure I’m missing lots) all starts with testing .. well beyond only those who are showing symptoms.

Those who test positive for COVID-19:

  • Self-quarantined.
  • Interviewed for their location and contact history (i.e., where were they in the community, with whom did they interact, etc.).
  • Get well.

Those who test negative for COVID-19:

  • Tested for Antibodies.
  • Interviewed for contact history.
  • Evaluated for their ability to donate antibodies.

Anyone that shows up on the interview list is:

  • Tested.
  • If Positive, see above.
  • If negative, see above.

I am omitting a lot of detail in the above, but that’s the gist.

As to the level of effort. Thursday, New York revealed a report where they expanding their testing activity along these lines, testing 3,000 random people in public spaces over 2 days, in 19 counties and 40 localities. ~13.9% of people tested positive antibodies (which means they are among The Resolved). Some bags of salt as this is early:

  • These were folks who were out and about .. may or may not have been quarantined.
  • Likely not essential workers as out and about during the day.
  • No emphasis to capture any broad scope of age, demographic, race, etc.
  • .. other stuff.

The numbers are big .. if accurate and almost 14% of people are immune, we can work with that number in the journey toward recovery.

It’s an early study, though. Happily, NBC News breaks it down in more detail: “What we can (and can’t) take away from New York’s antibody testing results” .. worth a read as is “Contact Tracing Study“, which links to an early-release CDC paper from a study in China.

Village or Army, it still takes all of us to:

Last, “Please Don’t Inject Disinfectant Into Your Body“. Please.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

Please Don’t Inject Disinfectant Into Your Body

Please .. even if you think you are treating yourself for COVID-19. See a doctor.

A note from the makers of Lysol (US) and Dettol (UK): Improper use of Disinfectants.

Be smart.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

Georgia on my Mind ..

.. no, not the song. But as to that:

Citing: “Georgia on my Mind” on Wikipedia, and other links.

Ray Charles made the song famous (and so many, many others).

Less-famous side note: I likely played this song with the Tri-City Jazz Band (OMG .. We have a URL for our second album). Maybe we recorded it on the third .. I don’t remember.

Back to business. I was quite surprised to hear that the “Georgia governor to reopen some businesses as early as Friday as other states signal similar plans“.

This, while the graph of COVID-19 in Georgia is still climbing:

20200420_GA Confirmed 01

And COVID-19 stats as of today:

20200420_GA Confirmed 02

.. we are still trending upward, which does not meet the guidelines for “Opening Up America Again” .. like, not even close. I guess the Governors really are calling the shots.

A disturbing quote from the article:

Notably, Kemp said Monday that no local ordinance can restrict the openings, which will be implemented statewide. “In the same way that we carefully closed businesses and urged operations to end to mitigate the virus’ spread, today we’re announcing plans to incrementally and safely reopen sectors of our economy,” he told reporters.

.. so, mayors cannot intercede in this madness. Here’s what the Georgia Governor is opening:

  • Bowling Alleys
  • Fitness Centers / Gyms
  • Barbers / Hair Salons
  • Tattoo Salons
  • Nail Salons
  • Massage Therapy

While all are expected to check employees prior to their shifts and practice social distancing .. I’m not sure that the bulk of the businesses on this list can effectively do their work while staying six feet away from their guests. Note that bars and nightclubs are still closed, and that restaurants are still closed until next Monday.

The Atlanta mayor is perplexed as to why .. note that Greater Atlanta has about half of the population of the entire state: “Atlanta Mayor: I’m at a loss by Governor’s decision to open“.

So am I.

Note that Georgia was among the last to issue a statewide stay-at-home order (see “Ordered and Commanded” on April 1st) .. and now among the first to open.

This looks political, not logical .. And I try not to be political in this forum. I do exercise common sense though, and I hope you do as well.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

What’s different?

Just past five weeks since full-time WFH .. I meant to write this at a four weeks, but I have achieved balance.

Four or five weeks .. It’s well past time for a little whimsy. So, what’s been different for me?

  • Getting up earlier (6:00 am).
  • Shorter commute (22 seconds).
  • Starting work earlier (6:00:22 am).
  • Drinking more coffee. Way more coffee.
  • Working out later .. usually during a briefing or learning session .. where my comments are limited and breathlessly-delivered.
  • Increased my workout time and regimen (watch out Dennis Quaid).
  • Shaving less often (candidly, this drives me crazy).
  • Shaving at my desk in schedule gaps.
  • Vacuuming more often, especially around my desk.
  • Showering later in the day.
  • Wearing fewer clothes .. typically a workout kit.
  • Making soup on the weekends for the week.
  • Eating more soup during the week.
  • Perfected my Eggplant Lasagna recipe.
  • Eating more Eggplant Lasagna.
  • Learned how to use my new Small Big Green Egg (thank you Jeff!). This is for when I’ve had enough soup and Eggplant Lasagna. It happens.
  • Dropped 11 pounds so far (about a kilo per week).

What else?

  • I’ve worn out my slippers .. I’m wearing socks with them until the new ones arrive.
  • I discovered my heels don’t like rubber flip-flops .. they crack (my heels, not the flip-flops). Wearing socks with them as well .. the between-the-toe thing is annoying when wearing a sock .. and it looks silly. Amazon?
  • Managing the entryway as a decontamination zone, complete with scary UV light.
  • My dress shoes are all polished.
  • My dress clothes are all dry-cleaned, as are my suits and tuxedos.
  • My shirts are all ironed.
  • My clothes are too big for me. Time for a socially-distanced fitting.

And at home?

  • After over three years in this house, I just realized the topmost railing in my staircase is upside-down. It still is. Now that I’ve written about it, I’ll fix it.
  • My floors sparkle.
  • My sparkly floors are not level.
  • My rugs are beaten to death to remove dust. They now whimper when I approach them.
  • After an unfortunate desire for the house to install an inside pool in my bar in Thanksgiving (i.e., a flood), the work was finally bid and scheduled .. the day before WFH orders. Maybe by next Thanksgiving?
  • The garbage disposal is on its last legs .. see the above.
  • Oh: the master bathroom fan sounds like a 747 (Remember those? We used to fly in them to go to far-away places with strange-sounding names). Again, see the above and above.
  • My Arlo batteries are wearing out at an incredible rate .. too much motion in the house makes them switch on and off and on and off.

On tidiness:

  • Washing my hands and face more often.
  • Cleaning the house more often.
  • Running the dishwasher every day.
  • Washing towels and kits upon any exposure outside.
  • An ‘inside kit’ that I only wear after I shower.
  • Oh: I still sweat .. even whilst just working at my standing (not walking) desk. Go figure.
  • A haircut that is now six weeks old .. think Einstein Hair.

On clothes .. beyond kits, I tried to think of something better to say than Tom Hanks, who, on his SNL skit said: “I forgot how buttons work”.

So have I.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

Contact Tracing Study

I’m starting to explore Contact Tracing .. a critical part in detecting the spread.

Some learnings from an early release CDC paper titled “COVID-19 Outbreak Associated with Air Conditioning in Restaurant, Guangzhou, China, 2020” that I came across today. The Abstract:

During January 26–February 10, 2020, an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus disease in an air-conditioned restaurant in Guangzhou, China, involved 3 family clusters. The airflow direction was consistent with droplet transmission. To prevent the spread of the virus in restaurants, we recommend increasing the distance between tables and improving ventilation.

Now it’s important to note that this an early release .. but it contains a lot of contact tracing research. Aa few bits from the report .. many of which we’ve already learned:

  • COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets (visible drops or invisible aerosol).
  • It can stay infectious in the droplets.
  • The lighter droplets can ‘hang’ in the air.
  • Air movement can transmit the lighter droplets.

We also know:

  • COVID-19 is incredibly infectious, and may be the most infections in the early stages.
  • Human-to-human transmission was proven early.
  • The incubation period is long enough to allow someone who has it to travel virtually anywhere on the planet.
  • Infected are capable of spreading the virus when showing no symptoms.

This snap from the CDC study:

Annotation 2020-04-20 001140

  • A restaurant. Large tables are circles, small circles are people.
  • Three feet between tables.
  • A1 is the index patient.
  • The air in the room is in motion.
  • Dates of infection noted.

The report goes into more detail .. describing the AC unit has an intake which explains how air could move back to Table C, infecting two people there.

So, knowing this, we must take into account many aspects of social gatherings:

  • Distance apart from each other.
  • Duration together (longer exposer time heightens the risk).
  • Number of people.
  • The physical environment (in this case, air movement is a significant factor)
  • Masks .. not to protect us, but to protect others from us.

Lots to learn.

Stay connected. Stay safe. Stay home.

%d bloggers like this: