It’s been about eight months since California first went into lockdown. Every now and then, I blog little reminders to myself about what life is like so that I’ll be able to read back in the future and remember how things were going. You can read the past ones under the covid19 tag.
I’m doing a mental checkpoint because 3 significant things happened recently.
1. San Diego is heading into lockdown again. This week, we got word that the number of cases here has gone up to the threshold of the purple tier again, California’s highest risk rate, so we’re going into lockdown again starting November 14. Basically, all office workers have to be remote, and most businesses (including churches, restaurants, gyms, sports, etc) are only allowed to do stuff outside. Retail shops are allowed to be open indoors, but with a max of 25% of their regular capacity.
This lockdown doesn’t affect Erika & me at all since we still refuse to eat indoors at restaurants, and we just work from home anyway. We’re super-lucky with San Diego’s weather though – it’s still t-shirt-and-jeans weather here, whereas other parts of the country (and even California) are already getting snow. But I mention it here because San Diego has been flirting with the case threshold for months, and we just haven’t been able to get it under control. People keep walking around without masks, touching things, not using hand sanitizer. Most times that I’m in the elevator heading downstairs, at least one person tries to get into the elevator without a mask, sees my mask, and then hurriedly fumbles for their own mask. Seriously, why would you even leave your apartment without the damn thing on? This pandemic is self-inflicted.
2. Pfizer announced a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The early news was that it was “more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.” There are side effects, like aches & fevers, but that seems doable. There are still a lot of questions left, and this Nature article has a good rundown. Do the vaccinated folks still spread the virus, but just not get the symptoms? Does it work for the elderly? How long does the resistance last? Around 50 million doses will be available globally by the end of the year, and 1.3 billion available in 2021. The world population is coming up on 8 billion, so there are going to be some awkward discussions to come next, but at least folks can have hope that a year or two from now, the most vulnerable among us may be able to breathe a little easier. (Obviously, if there are only 1.3 billion doses, and the vaccine requires multiple doses to be effective, and there are 8 billion people, you and I still don’t stand a good chance of getting it, but I’m fine with that – I’m just mentioning it to make it clear to folks who think they’re going to be first in line.)
3. The Presidential election is mostly over. Biden & Harris won, Trump still hasn’t conceded days later, and he’s making noise about fighting it in court right up until the end. Biden & Harris have already announced a COVID-19 task force. I mention the election last because the above two things help to put it in perspective: I would expect some pretty significant announcements in January around national mask guidelines, official nationwide moratoriums on big in-person events and shared office spaces, and more businesses going bankrupt as they see no relief on the horizon. I have a sinking feeling that there’s going to be a lot of civil unrest in January.
We’re making progress on our Iceland planning.
We’re making progress on our plans to move to Iceland for a while, and Iceland’s trying to make it easier, too. They’re adding a new telecommuting visa that lets remote workers and their families in for 6 months at a time. They’re not ready to take applications yet – they advised me to continue with my current work permit application – but that’s a great sign for other folks who want to follow in our footsteps.
I know this is gonna sound paranoid, but if Iceland approved our work permit early, we would go over quick, fast, in a hurry. I’m concerned about the level of civil unrest come January, and I think the anti-masker/anti-vaxxer/anti-science crowd will continue to spread the pandemic at a rate that’s going to outpace the vaccine. <sigh> That’ll lead to tougher lockdown mandates from the national government, which will lead to more unrest.
We’re extremely lucky that we have the ability to adjust our lives & schedules in a way that lets us make creative choices. Our work can be done from anywhere with a high speed Internet connection, and the nature of the pandemic means that my work is in more demand than ever. I’m in the midst of running the company’s annual Black Friday sale, and this has been our best year ever. We’re over a week ahead of our sales pace from last year.
But I just don’t feel great about any of this. It feels like we’re still in the first half of this dystopian novel.