This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.Toni Morrison
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.
Two weeks ago, I was tested for the SARS-CoV2 virus. The test came back positive with the caveat that they were seeing 10% false positives. I had no symptoms at the time. Now, 15 days after the initial test, I am still symptom free. Of the people who eventually show symptoms, onset after 14 days occurs in only 1% of the people. Dr. Fauci says 20% to 40% of the infected people never show symptoms. These mostly are young people. I am not young.
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the uncertainty I cannot change, the courage to reduce the uncertainty I can and the wisdom to know the difference.paraphrase of Rheinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer
I will need to test negative twice at least a day apart before my doctors will see me again. I’ve scheduled the first with my primary physician. It’s the very uncomfortable nasopharyngeal specimen, so courage will be needed. I’m scheduling the second through the local health department, so a different lab from the initial test and the first retest.
Today the package arrived with a framed drawing by a very talented niece. The package rattled. Not good. Opening it carefully, this is what we found.
A metaphor for our times, how to find the beauty amidst the dangerous shards.
On Monday, June 22, I received a positive test for the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease. I had no symptoms, but my brother was coming through town and wanted to visit. Usually he stays with us. Is this safe? Who knows. We agreed to both get tested. His test and my wife’s tests were negative. A friend who is a med lab tech said, my positive and my wife’s negative doesn’t make any sense. The nurse who called said they are seeing a 10% false positive rate. So am I infected or not? My brother went on without seeing us. I’m self-quarantining for the moment. I continue to have no symptoms a week after the test. I certainly will retest two weeks after the initial test. Maybe I won’t go out shopping or for dinner until I have at least one negative test. My cancer doctor won’t see me until I’ve had two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
More of the dishes are going into the dishwasher that runs a lot hotter than hand dishwashing. And we run it more often. I’m staying in for today.
One of my principles of research is that if it doesn’t show something you don’t expect, the experiment is poorly designed. If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll say that you weren’t (or I wasn’t) doing research, just trying to confirm biases. The same goes for searches.
My Travis COVID-19 page tracks various statistics in the Austin/Travis Count area. There aren’t many surprises there, just unhappy news. Searching for data about COVID-19 in Texas does show several things I did not expect:
- A news story on an out of state news Website reposted on Facebook claimed Austin (along with Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Tampa) were hot spots. Yes, Austin hit record highs in new cases yesterday and again today (Sunday, June 21). According to the Texas State Health Services Website, most major cities (Austin/Travis County, El Paso City/County, Ft. Worth/Tarrant County) are running a 4 per 1000 capita infection rate. Houston/Harris County is around 5. Dallas City/County is 6.
- Big cities will show big numbers of new cases. Per capita by county shows a surprise, somewhat. Walker County in East Texas is where the Huntsville Prison is. Abilene has a bunch of colleges, as does Amarillo. The big cities are not the hot spots.
- As Governor Greg Abbott opened up business in Texas, I felt he wasn’t abiding by his own standards of declining cases. The curve was flattening (less growth in new cases), but had not flattened or declined. This graph at the Texas Tribune shows that it did. Did, past tense. It has been rising for the last two weeks.
Langdon Review Weekend is an annual literary and arts festival that takes place the first Wednesday thru Saturday after Labor Day.
This year, the festival was canceled due the COVID-19 shutdown in Texas. They approached Laurence Musgrove and offered to accept the 180 poems about COVID-19 in Texas on his Tejascovido Website as submissions to the anthology that normally comes out of the festival. He and they winnowed the submissions down to 30 poems. My “Austin, Ides of March, 2020” was one of the accepted poems.
Austin Public Health has made available their dashboard tracking how the medical care facilities (hospitals) are handling the serious cases. Short story, both Austin and the surrounding area are coping well. Both the Austin and the Travis County sites are a mix of City of Austin and Austin Metropolitan Service Area (MSA) data. The Austin MSA is Travis, Williamson, Hayes, Bastrop, and Caldwell counties.
There is an APH site with month and a half old data. The age group data shows the most hospitalizations among the 20-29 year olds. In the Travis County (Austin MSA) site, 30-39 and 40-49 age groups show the most hospitalizations. This may be the UT Austin students who picked up the virus in Mexico during spring break and those they infected.
Two of my haikus were published in the May issue of Failed Haiku on page 35.