At-home Covid tests (good news)

Updated shelf life and expiration dates for at-home #covid tests, now that there’s been time to collect real-world data.

If you have an “expired” test lying around, check the list – it might still be usable.

https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/covid-19-at-home-tests-expiration-date-science

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/home-otc-covid-19-diagnostic-tests

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Sick (probably not COVID)

I figured the sore legs were probably from biking up & down 6 miles of hills yesterday
The neck pain from sitting propped up in a posture that i know gives me neck pain
The fatigue from not sleeping well
Light headedness could be migraine related
But then the chills started. And the fever hit.

Home COVID test came out negative, going to take a pcr tomorrow. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve gotten sick with COVID like symptoms but a negative test.

No one else in the kid’s class has come down with COVID, so that’s good. Also means I’m not likely to have caught it from him, since he hasn’t shown any sign of it since the exposure alert

I don’t remember what I wanted to do this weekend, but it’s cancelled now

When your head feels hot and the rest of you feels cold, you know something’s not right

I’m really annoyed trying to figure out where I could’ve gotten it.

If it’s stealth COVID, it may have been from sitting outside Starbucks on Monday. But again, I was outside most of the time and wore an N95 to walk inside to order.

If it’s the flu, it might be the restaurant I got takeout from last night. I had to wait longer than anticipated. But again, masked while inside.

I could’ve just been unlucky and hit the 5% chance.

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Covid, school related

Second day in a row we’ve gotten a notice of covid exposure in the kid’s classroom. One more case and it’s technically an outbreak.

Mask-optional when cases were low and flat was one thing, but they’ve been climbing for weeks. And that’s not including however many at-home tests don’t get reported.

The classroom is now mask-required for the next 10 days, which means the rest of the school year.

Fortunately the kid’s been wearing N95s since before the first exposure.

Going to put a damper on end-of year parties, even if it stops here.

Looked up the county regs for what to do after a third case. Wonderfully vague: “If a DPH outbreak investigation is activated, a public health investigator will contact the school to coordinate the outbreak investigation.”

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Imported to K2R

Coronaversary

Google wished me a happy second coronaversary this morning.

Google Photos notification with 2 years ago, today, March 8, 2020, and a picture of a curving coastline

Well, not in so many words. But I count March 8, 2020 as my last normal day, the day I went out to de-stress by taking pictures of the ocean, seagulls, and a zillion tiny clams, grabbed coffee at Peet’s on the way home, and came down with the flu that afternoon. By the time I recovered a few days later, everything had shut down.

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I never did get back to the office. I’m still at the same company, but they let the lease expire, tossed everything in storage, and set up a new, smaller office for people to come back to when things settled out.

I finally got to see the new office last month. And pick up the stuff I’d left on my desk, like a coffee mug that I would have washed on Monday morning if I hadn’t been sick.

It’s weird how it feels both longer and shorter than 2 years. Everything kind of blurs together. And yet it’s so different now from the start of the pandemic.

We’re not locked down. Just about everything that’s still in business is open, with precautions. Schools and playgrounds and parks are open. COVID tests are little boxes you buy at the pharmacy and use at home instead of driving through an improvised clean room for someone in a hazmat suit to stick a pole through the window.

It’s not “normal,” but it’s a lot closer to the old normal than those first months were.

The virus is still out there, but we understand better how it spreads and how to treat it, and vaccines make it a lot less likely to be severe for those who’ve gotten them.

(If only more people actually trusted the people who know what they’re talking about, rather than the ones telling them what they want to hear.)

On the down side, lots of people are still getting sick and dying, prices are up, the global supply chain hasn’t recovered, cynical politicians have taken advantage of the pandemic to further divide society and cement their hold on people who just want to be told what they want to hear instead of what they need to know, and a large nuclear power has decided now is an excellent time to invade their neighbors and possibly spark a bigger conflagration.

Things are still in flux. Which is probably part of why it’s still blurring together. We’ve still got problems to fix (or mitigate) at every level from home to global. Whatever the new normal is going to be, we haven’t made it yet.

But not having a direction, not having milestones, not having a sense what the landscape is going to be, makes it hard to see accomplishments, hard to be motivated. It’s been a draining two years. And even though a lot of things are better, other things are worse, and it’s still so damn draining. I’m exhausted, my wife’s exhausted, our kid’s switched school situations so many times he barely participates anymore.

I want a new normal. A better normal. But the last few years have also made it abundantly clear that more people than I thought don’t want to make things better, they just want other people to have it worse than them.

And yet I know so many people do have it worse than me. I have a job I can do from home. Even in the lockdown, I was quarantined with my family, not alone. I live in an area with enough open space that even during the heaviest restrictions I could still go out for a walk. My immediate family hasn’t caught COVID, and the extended family members who did recovered from it. (And of course I’m not dodging mortar shells or fleeing a battle zone.)

It makes me wonder what I’m complaining about. By some standards my life is charmed, so what business do I have feeling depressed and anxious?

Brains are weird.

You spend a little time in fight/flight/freeze mode and you’re able to stop or dodge danger

You spend a lot of time in it and your brain just stops classifying input properly.

COVID, weird

It turns out the person I caught it from also tested negative for Covid during their illness…and then came down with actual Covid after they recovered. Fortunately they seem to be on the mend from that now too.

That means (a) whatever I caught from them wasn’t Covid and (b) we haven’t been around them in long enough that we don’t have to worry about it having been a Covid exposure too.

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Covid, food: Tonight’s dinner taste test

Tonight’s dinner taste test

Garlic: yes. Roasted potatoes: barely. Roasted radishes: delayed taste. Kale: yes. Carrots: no. Bell peppers & onions: kind of. Soy sauce: yes

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And dessert test.

Maple cream cookie: Similar to the chocolate chip cookie yesterday, where it initially didn’t taste sweet at all until after a few seconds of chewing. And fortunately I can still taste maple!

A 60% cocoa Ghirardelli square tastes like a 72%.

A mint-filled square tastes more intensely minty.

A sea salt caramel square tastes like salty chocolate.

covid, spice cabinet

So this is interesting. I can smell most of the dried herbs fine – oregano, thyme, dill, cloves. Rosemary is kind of faint, but I can pick it up.

Garlic is intense.

I can smell cinnamon but not nutmeg, which is odd.

And here’s the really weird one: paprika, ancho, black pepper, cayenne and ginger all smell subtly off from normal. Like when you get a chile that’s normally spicy but isn’t, and you can still taste the flavor but it doesn’t have the bite you expect.

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I also tried tasting a few sauces.

Ketchup and mustard tasted more sour than usual. Plain yellow mustard was too intensely sour.

Teriyaki tasted a little more like sweet & sour sauce.

Gochujang & caramel were both a little bit off, but I couldn’t quite place how.

Chocolate syrup was interesting, because I could pick up the chocolate taste before the sweetness, so it started out tasting like darker chocolate.

Covid, food: Weirdest thing is the taste/smell impact…

Got what is so far a mild case of what’s almost certainly covid, mostly fatigue & runny nose (yay boosters!).

Weirdest thing is the taste/smell impact. It hasn’t gone out completely, it’s more like taking an audio equalizer and readjusting the sliders so that some frequencies are barely audible while others are still normal. Umami’s solid, sour’s a bit blunted, sweetness is even fainter. At least food still tastes like food so far.

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And some of the fainter tastes do kick in after a while. I tried a chocolate chip cookie, and at first it was like eating a cracker or plain biscotti, but after a few seconds of chewing I could taste the chocolate.

And yes, I have considered experimenting with the spice cabinet…

Things to remember with Omicron

Things to remember with Omicron:
1. Science isn’t handed down from on high fully formed. It’s a process of figuring things out based on what you know so far & what you discover. Like trying to determine the picture on a puzzle when the pieces are still scattered around the house.

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2. Tactics change with the terrain. When a tool is in short supply, you save it for those who most need it. When it’s widely available, you can use it more. When a risk is both high and widespread in your area, you take more precautions than when it’s lower and rarer.

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3. News and advice should be looked at through the lens of “Based on what we know so far, under current conditions.” As we learn more, and as conditions change, that will change. That’s how science works, how learning works, and how time works.

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4. Nothing in life is certain. But a 90% reduction in your chances of something awful happening is pretty damn good when you compare it to the baseline instead of that ideal 100%.

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Cross-posted at K2R