Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘coronavirus’

200331092911-02-wild-goats-wales-coronavirus-exlarge-169

Photo: Carl Triggs
Wild Kashmiri goats pay a visit to a newly empty Welsh town. “The goats live on the hill overlooking the town. They stay up there, very rarely venturing into the street,” a resident told CNN.

They say that Nature abhors a vacuum, but I doubt anyone was thinking of this. In a Welsh town under quarantine, wild Kashmiri goats decided it was safe to check things out.

Aleesha Khaliq writes at CNN, “A coastal town in north Wales has found a whole new meaning to the phrase herd immunity, after goats were spotted roaming its quiet streets.

“It comes just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced tighter restrictions around social movement last week in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“Residents spotted herds of goats strolling around Llandudno on Friday and over [last] weekend, after more than a dozen of the animals ventured down from the Great Orme headland and roamed the streets of the coastal town. …

“They are referred to as Great Orme Kashmiri goats, whose ancestors originated from northern India, according to the town’s official website.

“Town resident, Carl Triggs, was returning home after delivering personal protective equipment masks when he saw the goats. ‘The goats live on the hill overlooking the town. They stay up there, very rarely venturing into the street,’ he told CNN. …

“Mark Richards, from hotel Lansdowne House, told CNN: ‘They sometimes come to the foot of the Great Orme in March but this year they are all wandering the streets in town as there are no cars or people.’ …

“Local councilor Penny Andow told CNN she has lived in the area for 33 years and has never seen the goats venture from the Great Orme down into the town. …

“However, the [police] force said it was ‘not that unusual in Llandudno. … They usually make their own way back.’ ” More here.

The town’s website has lots more: “The first intimation of Llandudno Goat – Latin name, Capra Markhor, is the rank odour. It is strong, musty and compelling (a bit stinky). … The creatures eat with discrimination. Delicately nibbling the juiciest berries, whilst carefully avoiding the thorns. …

“All goats have their own peculiarities, and it is possible to identify individuals. One billy, in particular, is easily recognisable. He is smaller than the others, and has a longer, shaggier coat. This goat is an outsider. He is one of three goats introduced into the herd from Whipsnade Zoo.

“It was not a very successful experiment. The first goat died within weeks of arrival. The second decided that he was probably not a goat, but a sheep. He mixed quite happily with the flock, until, unfortunately, he fell off a cliff and was killed. This is very unusual, as goats are extremely sure footed. The third goat survived, and eventually became accepted by the herd.”

You know what I would like to see walking through town: a moose. I have always wanted to see a moose that wasn’t just in a zoo. What would you like to see? Mythological beasts permissible.

Read Full Post »

merlin_171027342_b2073294-9cfa-462a-ab1d-2b4acc7952b7-jumbo

Photo: C.J. Chivers
Andrade’s Catch has been buying clams from a rotating group of fisherman to keep revenue flowing to quahoggers.

My friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin have perhaps not been asking themselves, “How are the quahoggers doing these days?” but on the coast, a few journalists are checking in on the folks who provide our seafood.

C. J. Chivers (a New York Times writer who sells clams but has no connection to the shop in this story) reports about a lifeline for clam diggers.

“Lou Frattarelli eased his flatbed truck into the loading zone at Andrade’s Catch, a small seafood shop in [Bristol] on Narragansett Bay. … He had four sacks of quahogs to sell, raked on the still-running tide from the bottom of the bay.

“Davy Andrade, one of the shop owners, met him at the door. Mr. Andrade was buying, one of the few shellfish dealers in the state still employing clammers and bringing a local seafood staple to residents.

“ ‘What do you want me doing tomorrow?’ Mr. Frattarelli asked, hoping for one more day’s pay.

“ ‘Another 500, if you can,’ Mr. Andrade answered.

“Five hundred littlenecks is far fewer clams than an experienced quahogger can rake in a day from the rich waters around Prudence Island, where Mr. Frattarelli had been working. But in the age of the coronavirus, it amounted to a boon.

“Many fishing ports across the United States, long imperiled and struggling under strict regulations and the declines of valuable fish and shellfish stocks, have fallen even quieter in the pandemic. …

“Until two weeks ago, much of the East Coast’s daily harvest of wild clams was channeled through wholesale buyers to restaurants and raw bars, many of them in New York City. When bars and restaurants were closed, wholesalers stopped buying.

“In Rhode Island, where state regulations forbid quahoggers from selling clams directly to consumers, the result is that the fleet has all but stopped working — even though catches were high and people, wary of going into crowded and picked-over grocery stores, are eager for healthy meals. …

“Andrade’s Catch has managed to support quahog sales, at least at a small scale. While the shop does a robust wholesale business, it also runs a retail shop out front. By shifting operations almost entirely to retail, it has kept a few boats on the water.

“ ‘I’ve got about six guys I am buying from,’ Mr. Andrade said, and he rotates their days. ‘We want to keep the guys going.’ …

“Said David Andrade, Davy’s father and a co-founder of the shop with his wife, ‘I’ve been telling the diggers, take it easy, wait for the restaurants to come back, [but in] all reality, you’ve got to make $200 a day to pay for the boat.’ …

“A town resident donated $600 to provide free clams to Andrade’s Catch customers. The donation became the impetus for a retail special: Anyone spending $24 or more on seafood this week received 24 free clams. …

“Mr. Andrade’s fiancée, Victoria Young, [encourages] shoppers to place orders by phone and to collect purchases curbside — reducing traffic in the store and potential dangers to the customers and staff.

“Between customers, Ms. Young sprays and wipes anything they might touch — the counters, the A.T.M. and the frame, glass and handles of the front door. …

“ ‘We were supposed to get married next week,’ she said, looking at Davy. ‘We’ve postponed it.’ ”

Read what some Rhode Island quahoggers are saying about the future, here.

 

Read Full Post »

dmypsrrs3vbi3pxqmjh4gzszda

Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
Jen Andonian and Matt Shearer, both epidemiologists, recently got married at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Many group events are being put off because of the war against coronavirus, but recently I’ve been learning how weddings, Passover feasts, funerals, conferences, and the like are probably managed in other kinds of war.

Here are two wedding stories from the Boston Globe.

Liz Kowalczyk reports on Jen Andonian and Matt Shearer, who “had it all planned: her burgundy floral dress, his matching checked tie. They live in Cambridge, but chose Ann Arbor, Mich., where they met as graduate students, for their simple courthouse wedding ceremony in March with immediate family. A reception for 75 guests would follow the next day at her parents’ lakeside restaurant.

“Then the fast-moving coronavirus began spreading through the world — and the United States. Andonian and Shearer, both epidemiologists on the frontlines of COVID-19 — she at Massachusetts General Hospital, he at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security — knew they could not ignore the risk of a large celebration. …

“When she told her coworkers at the MGH Center for Disaster Medicine the next day, a colleague joked: What about just getting married at the hospital? Her co-workers turned the offhand remark into an actual plan, executed in the midst of exhausting 12-hour workdays.

During quick breaks from setting up coronavirus testing sites and expanding intensive-care units, team members ordered flowers and vanilla cupcakes and devised a music playlist. Nurse Eileen Searle applied for a one-day state certificate to perform a marriage ceremony. …

“On Friday, Andonian, 30, and Shearer, 36, were married before a small group of disaster medicine colleagues, all wearing surgical masks and sitting six feet apart to prevent the spread of germs, as the sun streamed in from the windows high in the light-blue dome. It was a welcome but brief break amid the relentless arrival of patients ill with a relentless virus; the number of patients sick enough with COVID-19 to be admitted to Mass. General had more than doubled over the course of the week, to 61 on [March 27] alone.

” ‘This may not have been the wedding you wanted, but it is clearly the wedding MGH needed,’ began Searle, whose job includes training nurses to properly put on protective gear. ‘Thank you.’ …

“When they told their families about the plan to marry at the hospital, Andonian said they had mixed feelings. ‘Everyone was sad, but after seven years, they were ready for us to get married,” she said. …

“The couple arrived about 15 minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., walking past a long table outside the Ether Dome set with cupcakes to share, a cake for them to take home, tiny colorful containers of bubbles, and a gift bag hiding a bottle of champagne. ..

“As Andonian waited in the hallway, Shearer stood between a white plaster statue of Apollo and a glass case containing an Egyptian mummy, part of a small collection of artifacts [in the MGH museum].

” ‘You ready?’ Searle asked.

” ‘Let’s do it,’ he said.” More.

Another Globe story detailed how a photographer that a couple had never met was determined to put together all the traditional pieces so that a soldier could “elope.”

Megan Johnson writes of bride Victoria Pass, “ ‘If you still want to get married, I definitely want to get married,’ said Victoria. ‘We gotta figure this out.’

“The couple decided they’d wed at Chicopee City Hall. But with none of their family and friends in the area, Victoria wanted to have a photographer capture the moment. They started making phone calls, and stumbled upon Dani Klein-Williams, a Northampton-based photographer.

‘They said they were just planning a very quick, no-frills elopement at Chicopee City Hall,’ said Klein-Williams. ‘I was like, “Okay, can you give me two hours? I’m gonna put something even more spectacular together for you.” ‘

“Klein-Williams called Blantyre, the Tudor-style Relais & Châteaux property in Lenox, Mass. … Within two hours, she got approval from Blantyre, which was already shut down for their annual winter closure. …

“Next, Klein-Williams called her favorite wedding planner, Tara Consolati, who also happens to be ordained. Though she had never performed a ceremony before, she was on board to officiate. Carolyn Valenti, a Berkshires-based florist, offered up a blend of snapdragons, hyacinth, and other blooms. ‘She said, “I have all these gorgeous flowers and they’re just going to rot and die,” ‘ said Klein-Williams.

By the end of the conversation, she discovered that Valenti had a house guest who could bake. Without her baking equipment on hand, however, they dumped the contents of an oversize can of tomatoes, sterilized the can, and used that as a frame for a small wedding cake, topped with berries and flowers.

“[Klein-Williams next] … reached out to Mike Murray of Summer Wind Wedding Films, who volunteered to live stream the event, so Victoria and Jerrod’s family and friends could follow along.” More.

Oh, the kindness of strangers!

Photo: Dani Klein-Williams
Victoria and Jarrod Pass eloped in the Berkshires after having to cancel their 60-guest wedding in Las Vegas. A photographer they hadn’t met, Dani Klein-Williams, was determined the couple should have all the traditional features of a wedding.

bfvwmxbidfgbhiapa6gtzpsksi

Read Full Post »

1584999155004-gettyimages-161025682

Photo: Karl Gehring/Denver Post via Getty Images
According to
Vice, the FCC needs to clarify whether libraries lose their subsidized rates during Covid-19 social distancing if they offer wifi away from their buildings.

Libraries, as usual in a crisis, are stepping up. Remember the critical role of the Ferguson Library during the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Missouri? I’ve been following that library on social media since then, and I’m impressed with what it does for the community and how fast it responds to needs.

Now, during social distancing, libraries are offering wifi hotspots via bookmobiles. Karl Bode reports at Vice, “As millions of Americans hunker down to slow the spread of coronavirus, the lack of affordable broadband access has become a far more pressing problem.

“The FCC’s 2019 Broadband Deployment Report states that 21.3 million Americans lack access to any broadband whatsoever, be it cable, DSL, fiber, or wireless. Recent studies suggest that number is actually twice that thanks to inaccurate FCC broadband availability maps.

“It’s a problem that is notably worse in many low-income and minority communities, long-neglected by the nation’s incumbent broadband monopolies.

“For many Americans, the local library is their best and sometimes only opportunity to get online. But with many schools and libraries closing to protect public health, these users are losing access to a valuable resource in a time of crisis.

“In a letter to the FCC [March 19] the American Library Association (ALA) floated a solution: why not turn the nation’s 16,557 public libraries into free, communal broadband Wi-Fi hotspots, then extend that access into the broader communities that surround them?

“American libraries are subsidized by the FCC E-Rate program, which helps them obtain and deliver broadband access to bridge the digital divide. But the ALA said libraries were worried that the [current administration] —which has taken aim at the program in recent years — would penalize them for extending broadband access to users that are technically not on library property. …

“The ALA urged the FCC to waive E-rate restrictions so libraries could not only offer Wi-Fi access via local libraries, but could also provide broadband service to disconnected communities via bookmobiles and mobile hotspots without running afoul of FCC rules. …

“Former FCC lawyer Gigi Sohn told Motherboard that the FCC has more than $1 billion in available funding from the last round of E-rate subsidies, and could easily waive E-rate restrictions during a crisis. …

“On Monday the FCC issued a statement making it clear that libraries would not be penalized under E-Rate rules for extending Wi-Fi access beyond their property boundaries. …

“While the FCC said it was ok for libraries to leave their hotspots running during the pandemic, the agency simply ignored libraries’ questions as to whether they’d be penalized for extending access into the broader community. …

” ‘We are pleased that the FCC, in response to our request, has clarified that schools and libraries may leave their Wi-Fi networks on for community use without jeopardizing their E-rate funding,’ the The SHLB Coalition said in a statement. ‘The SHLB Coalition now encourages the FCC to take the next step and grant the Petition of the Boulder Valley School District to permit schools and libraries to extend their broadband services to surrounding residential consumers.’ ”

More at Vice, here.

Read Full Post »

3500

Photo: Elias Marcou/Reuters
Migrants from the Moria camp in Lesbos, Greece, use their skills to sew protective masks.

A friend posted on Facebook a Patch.com request for people with sewing machines who might be willing to make surgical masks. This particular call to arms is local to Massachusetts (read), but you might find a similar opportunity near you. All Hands on Deck!

In Greek refugee camps, residents who have already known a ton of hardship are on the case: they know that they’re not likely to get much protection from outside.

Katy Fallon has the story at the Guardian: “In some of the most dangerously overcrowded Greek refugee camps, it has become a race against time to raise awareness about Covid-19 and ensure an outbreak does not spread among an already vulnerable population.

“In the infamous Moria camp on the island of Lesbos close to 20,000 people live in a space designed for just under 3,000. There is is already limited access to running water in the camp, and toilets and showers regularly block due to overuse. The first case of Covid-19 was confirmed on the island last week when a Greek woman from the town of Plomari tested positive. So far [March 18] this the only confirmed case on the island.

“There is an increasing sense of urgency in Moria about hygiene and handwashing. In the absence of support from the Greek authorities, residents are taking matters into their own hands.

 ‘The conditions were out of control and so we knew that we needed to do something by ourselves,’ said Deen Mohammad Alizadah, 30, originally from Afghanistan.

“The members of the team are a snapshot of the diverse population of Moria, heralding from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and the Congo region, each dispensing advice to their own communities. …

“Due to high demand, face masks are currently in short supply in pharmacies in the local town of Mytilene, and since there is no current mass distribution of masks to the camp, industrious Moria residents have come up with their own solution.

“In a small building around a kilometre from Moria, a group of four Afghan women have volunteered their time to sew face masks for the camp’s population. Stand By Me Lesvos, a Greek NGO, realised that they could make use of the sewing machines from a previous project.

‘It was set up within six hours on Friday,’ said Mixalis Avialotis from Stand By Me Lesvos. ‘One of the Afghan women used to be a tailor in Kabul and said she’d have no problem managing the operation.’

“The women are working at a rapid rate and in their first day made approximately 500 masks, which are fashioned from cotton fabric bought from local shops. The masks are then packaged into plastic wrappers purchased from the local Lidl supermarket and boxed to be brought to the camp. The masks, which will be given out for free, will initially only be distributed to camp residents who start to feel unwell or exhibit symptoms of the virus, such as a cough. …

“On the island of Samos where the refugee camp hosts nearly 7,500 people in a space designed for 648, conditions are similarly cramped. … Guilia Cicoli, co-founder of Still I Rise NGO, which runs a youth centre for children living in [camp], told the Guardian that they had spent a lot of time speaking to the children about Covid-19. The children have also produced posters about hand washing and hygiene in class.

“ ‘Most of us are Italians so we took it very seriously and started awareness raising before Greece even had any confirmed cases,’ she said. ‘Before we had to close last week we had already replaced handshakes with elbow or feet bumps.’ More at the Guardian, here.

Meanwhile in the US, some hospitals feel like they are on their own, too: “Medical staff in one of the nation’s epicenters of the novel coronavirus outbreak have resorted to creating makeshift masks to care for patients, Bloomberg News reported.

“Washington state hospital workers, part of Providence St. Joseph Health system, are improvising protective wear by crafting masks out of marine-grade vinyl, industrial tape, foam and elastic bought from craft stores and Home Depot, the outlet reported.

“Washington state has the highest death total from covid-19 and the second highest total of confirmed cases.” Read this.

Read Full Post »

squolquol

Image: Lummi Nation
So far, the Lummi tribe has reported three Covid-19 cases, but they expect numbers to rise as the pandemic progresses. Unlike many constituencies, the Lummi are prepared.

Here are a couple things we can learn from the kind of people who think about the effects of their actions on seven generations: Be generous; act like a grownup.

Consider the Lummi tribal leaders in this article from the Guardian. They began to prepare as soon they heard about the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, and now they are even offering help to people outside their community.

Nina Lakhani reports, “The Lummi nation, a sovereign Native American tribe in the Pacific northwest, will soon open a pioneering field hospital to treat coronavirus patients, as part of a wave of strong public health measures which have gone further than many governments.

“Tribal leaders have been preparing for Covid-19 since the virus first appeared in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, with medical staff beefing up emergency plans, reorganizing services and gathering medical supplies, including test kits and personal protective equipment.

“The Lummi reservation is located in Whatcom county – 115 miles north of Seattle, Washington, where the first US Covid-19 case was confirmed in January, followed by the first death in February. …

‘We quickly recognised the need to make sacrifices for the greater good, in order to protect our people and the wider community,’ said Dr Dakotah Lane, medical director of the tribal health service, who is in strict self-quarantine after coming into contact with a Covid-19 patient. …

“The tribe swiftly introduced mitigation and prevention measures such as social distancing, drive-through testing, telemedicine clinics, and a home delivery service for the elderly.

“The tribal council declared a state of emergency on 3 March – 10 days before … the US – and approved $1m to prepare and respond for the evolving pandemic, which includes setting up the hospital.

“A community fitness centre, located next to the tribe’s health clinic, has been repurposed into a makeshift hospital, with beds, protective gear and other essential equipment in place. It will open once the pharmacy is fully stocked. The 20-bed hospital will treat less critical inpatients, in order to free up intensive care units in nearby facilities, and prioritize Native Americans from any tribe. …

“The tribe’s proactive response to the evolving global pandemic has been possible thanks to vast improvements to the quality and capacity of its community healthcare system over the past decade.

“Like an increasing number of tribes, the Lummi nation has opted for ‘self-determination,’ which enables greater financial flexibility and clinical autonomy – as opposed to depending on the federally controlled Indian Health Service (IHS) which has suffered decades of severe underfunding.

“As a result, the Lummi health services raises substantial revenue by treating patients on Medicaid and Medicare. … This extra cash has allowed them to invest in infrastructure and build capacity: the tribe now has eight doctors compared with just three in 2013, including three physicians with public health expertise. …

The Lummi want to help. Dr Lane said: ‘The Lummi believe in controlling our own destiny. We don’t count on help reaching us, but the hospital is something we can do to help the community.’

More at the Guardian, here. By the way, do you read the Guardian? It’s free online. It just requests donations. The US coverage is amazing.

Read Full Post »

rtx79fmi-e1584114422319

Photo: Reuters/Guglielmo Mangiapane
Italy formally recognizes that newspapers are essential services.

The demise of newsprint has been exaggerated. Newspapers are still needed. Not only did one in Australia — partly as a joke — print some blank pages with dotted lines for making your own toilet paper, but in Italy newspapers have now been characterized as “essential” services.

Luiz Romero reports at Quartz: “As it became increasingly clear earlier this week that the Italian government would announce even more stringent measures to combat coronavirus, in a country that already faces extraordinary restrictions, a debate began to brew over what should be left open and what should be forced to closed. Places that sell food and medicine would have to keep functioning, but what about the edicole—the small shops that sell newspapers and magazines, and that still exist in the thousands in Italy?

“On Wednesday (March 11), Carlo Verdelli, the director of Repubblica, one of the two largest newspapers in the country, alongside Corriere, published a note arguing that newsstands should be added to the list of essential services that was being prepared by the government. …

“Here, like everywhere else, newsstands are disappearing. They went from 18,400 to 14,300 during the 2010s—a number that  includes those that also sell souvenirs for tourists. Excluding them, the real number of newsstands in Italy is estimated to be around 5,000. Still, Italians like to read newspapers. Almost a third of the population gets its daily news in print. …

“After some debate, and as the number of cases continued to spike, the government finally took a decision. Everything had to close except what it deemed essential services—food stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, and factories. … Newsstands were also allowed to keep going. …

“In Milan, newspaper vendors are proud of what they do. Rosi Varezza, who operates a small but busy newsstand, explained that papers are essential for elderly readers, who are most at risk from the outbreak. Clients buy newspapers for habit, but also to get information they deem more trustworthy; to go deep into subjects they consider important; and to hear the news delivered from specific voices—columnists that have informed them for decades. …

“Newsstands are even registering a small bump in sales. That was clear in Milan. In a busier newsstand, near a major shopping street here, I had to wait to pay for the newspaper. And when my turn came, I had to ask my questions quickly. The newsagent was impatient, answering with short sentences, and insistently looking over my shoulder. A line was forming.” More at Quartz, here.

In my own case, I have always read articles more deeply if they are in print. And in my semi-isolation, I look forward to the paper delivery every day and read more sections than usual. You?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: