Categories
Health

5km From Home

From today people in Ireland (south of the border) can go up to 5km from home to exercise. The over 70s who have been cocooning at home are allowed out but warned to stay well away from anyone else.

How far is 5km? Go visit this site and allow it to use your location to find out!

On Friday it was announced the country would have five phases to go through towards opening up:

  • Phase 1: 18th May
  • Phase 2: 8th June
  • Phase 3: 29th June
  • Phase 4: 20th July
  • Phase 5: 10th August

Find a PDF of it here.

Meanwhile G O’D and her cronies are back in the High Court protesting the lockdown.

The Phoenix Park, a huge park in Dublin, had to be closed because of a protest against the lockdown.

I guess they’re not as bad as the Right in the USA. At least they don’t have access to weapons in Ireland.

There are plans to pedestrianise streets and make one-way footpaths in Cork.

Pub owners want to open sooner than August. How the hell will drunk people socially distance?

Normal People is causing quite a stir.

During the Irish Famine in the 1840s the Choctaw tribe in North America sent money to help feed starving people in Ireland.

The Navajo Nation is now looking for help and Irish people are putting their hands in their pockets and reaching out!

I was so sad to hear of the death of Sam Lloyd who you’ll recognise from Scrubs. 🙁
This baby will brighten your day!
Amazing Irish dancing by Morrghan! Puts any attempt I made in my teens to shame. 🙂

Do you remember the ILOVEYOU virus? I do and 20 years ago it infected 45 million computers and it originated somewhere surprising. Geoff White tells all!

Are you distracted? Of course you are. Me too. Go listen to the latest Distributed podcast. Matt interviews neuroscientist Dr. Adam Gazzaley and it is well worth a listen.

I went for a cycle the other night and for some reason Sophie Ellis Bextor’s “Stay At Home” was running through my brain the whole time. Probably the sight of Garda checkpoints. Good to see them.

Scott Berkun has released his new book in the middle of a pandemic!

We’re all locked down. Blarney Photography Club can’t meet any more but tonight we had a great presentation by Zoom. I thought it worked really well!

Categories
Health

Memories of the now

Diego is happy to stay inside. Be like Diego.

I started writing about what’s happening with Covid-19 on St. Patrick’s Day this year and I said I was writing for future me. While it’s impossible to capture everything I see and experience this post my cousin shared on Facebook (author unknown) covers most of the major events of the last month.

Sharing this for my future self ❤️
Schools and Creches close 12th March 2020
All pubs and clubs close 15th March.
No St Patricks Day Parade
Lockdown begins in Ireland midnight 27th March 2020
Fuel prices dropped a record amount (now €1.12/litre)
Self-distancing measures on a rise.
Tape on the floors at food stores and others to help distance shoppers 2m (6ft) from each other.
Limited number of people inside stores, therefore lineups outside the store doors.
Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
Entire sports seasons cancelled.
Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.
Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.
Funerals limited to children/parents/spouses of deceased. No other family or friends.
No masses, churches are closed.
No gatherings permitted.
Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.
We are to distance from each other.
Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
Shortage of respirators for the critically ill.
Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towel no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer.
Shelves are bare.
Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
Government closes the border to all non essential travel and makes it mandatory to self isolate for 14 days when returning.
Fines are established for breaking the rules.
Fines for those price-gauging others.
Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
Press conferences daily from the Government.
Barely anyone in the street or on the roads.
People wearing masks and gloves outside.
Essential service workers are terrified to go to work.
Medical workers are afraid to go home to their families.
Many people placed on leave and unable to work with the government paying 80% of their wage.
They say it started in Wuhan, China at a seafood market. Hundreds of thousands affected, dead, dying, critically ill. Many recovered.
This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020.
Why, you ask, do I write this status?
One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious. To not take the things we dearly love for granted.
We have so much!
Be thankful. Be grateful.
Be kind to each other – love one another – support everyone. ❤️

From Facebook post, author unknown.

Not everything there is accurate and obviously what is, only applies to Ireland. There isn’t a strict 14 day quarantine on people arriving in the country. People are asked to self isolate for that time but there’s no follow-up AFAIK. We’re all self-isolating now anyway.

The PPE that arrived from China turned out to be ill fitting, too small and of poor quality. I hope subsequent shipments were better.

A Facebook post by a nurse described all that was wrong and upsetting about it.

A SHOCKING MESSAGE FROM A VERY CONCERNED NURSE:

Hello
I’m wondering if you’ll post this message. I’m a nurse in one of the largest teaching hospitals in the country.
Today I and my colleagues came to work and were supplied with the three quarter sleeve gowns shown on tv to look after Covid patients.
We put up a huge battle with our manager who insisted that the gowns offered adequate protection and were standard now countrywide.
Infection control just told us to practice our hand hygiene even more thoroughly and wash our arms.
We were put in the most awful of dilemmas. Some of us resorted to taping our arms up to the sleeves of the gowns. ( it doesnt work, the tape split and was difficult to remove safely)
The rest of us continued to protest until a small supply of proper long sleeve gowns were found. Those who protested more loudly were given the gowns. Those who were afraid of overpowering management relented and had to wear the short sleeve gowns.
Today was a fucking nightmare.
The very managers marching us into covid positive rooms will never have direct patient care.
We know they wouldn’t dare put themselves at risk but it’s ok to put our lives and our families lives at risk.
Senior consultants are protesting over poor quality PPEs and the use of surical masks with Covid patients but even their voices go unheard over the suits in management who have business degrees but who have absolutley no qualifications in looking after patients or in infectious diseases.
I’m telling you this because the truth needs to be told. Jesus I thought we were at rock bottom before but never more so than we are now.
We are forced to wash goggles after each use. (Not enough to go around.) We are told that surgical masks are fine even when pts are coughing terribly and are on nebulisers. (Not enough FFP3s in supply)
And now we are given gowns that either have no sleeves in them or we have the option of plastic gowns that only cover the front of our bodies. Our upper chest area and backs are completely open.
Every nurse, doctor and healthcare worker who provide direct care to covid pts in Ireland is terrified right now. The stress alone is killing us.
We all have families to go home to.
We are all aware of the now high level of covid positive staff in our hospital and yet they continue to force us into wards and rooms without adequate protection therefore risking our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
What infuriated all of us even more this evening was the director general of the HSE, Paul Reid stating that the PPE’s “just look different”.
The fucking neck of the man. Who does he think he’s fooling?
Would you send a riot policeman into a riot wearing a straw hat and tell them it just looks different?
It’s an insult to all our intelligence and it’s placing a huge amount of lack of trust in management at a time when we should feel confident that they’ll keep us safe.
Some of us are now in tears in work. All of us are petrified. None of us are sleeping well. We are all willing to care for Covid patients, that’s our job but for the love of God provide us with the equipment to do so. Don’t let any of us risk lose our lives doing so.
We may be considered angels but we are all highly qualified medical staff with families who we love dearly and we are being forced to do the unthinkable.
The rest of the worlds healthcare workers wear hazmat suits with covid patients . We don’t have that luxury but for Christs sake please please don’t let them take chances with our lives by forcing us to wear shoddy PPE’s.
We are all worth so much more than that even if they don’t think so.
Thank yo for letting us tell the real truth.

An incredibly stressed nurse on behalf of all my incredibly stressed colleagues on the frontline.
(Ps I aplogise for my use of bad language.)

My friend David works as a nurse in Wales. He and his colleagues face the same issues with PPE.

The Falkland Islands reported their first case. They were one of the few regions on the planet without one.

Many countries now want people to wear a mask when they go outside. The American CDC recommends their use. There’s a “no sew” mask you can make yourself but it might not be that effective.

Using masks is unlikely to be of any benefit if you are not sick.

Sick people will be advised by their doctor when to use a mask. Healthcare workers need masks and other personal protective equipment to protect them from infection during their work.

On the other hand you can be infectious for several days without symptoms so wearing some sort of mask that stops you breathing or coughing particles in an enclosed space like a grocery store might be worth it.

This is heartbreaking.
What kind of monster makes a lewd joke while talking about the projected deaths of thousands of people?
Finally, some good news!

Meanwhile the 5G conspiracy nuts are burning down 5G towers in the UK thinking it’s causing Covid-19. Here’s a video. Check out the replies.

Also, Kirstie Alley questions who is behind releasing the virus. Argh!

This Covid-19 vs average cause of death graph is frightening because Covid-19 accelerates so fast.

Categories
Health

Coronavirus Rhapsody

Mama, I just killed a man
I didn’t stay inside in bed
I walked past him, now he’s dead.

I don’t wanna die
I sometimes wish
I never went out at all.

Thanks Paolo.

Categories
Health

The new normal

A month is a long time, an advert on the February 27th Naked Scientists podcast was run by the Local Enterprise Office here in Ireland for “Local Enterprise Week” at the beginning of March to “help local business grow in 2020”. I wonder will people become wary of meeting others after this pandemic is over? I’m slowly catching up on my podcast backlog. Many are being recorded at home or even on a park bench as happened with the March 16th episode of Planet Money.

Schools in Ireland closed on March 12th, so we’ve been at home since then. New restrictions were introduced on March 27th, as summarised by Gavin Sheridan:

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced:

1. For two weeks, to April 12, everyone to stay at home in all circumstances (except essential services, shopping, medicines, care for relatives, brief exercise)
2. All public and private gatherings of any number of people banned.
3. All non-essential shops closed.
4. All community centres closed.
5. Shielding introduced to all over 70s.
6. All visits to offshore islands banned.
7. No travel outside of 2km of your home (except reasons above), for any reason.

New restrictions announced

It has made a noticeable difference. I haven’t left Blarney since then. Even before that I had curtailed how much I walk but now it’s a quick walk around the park with the dog in the morning and evening. Pokemon Go gyms have been relatively stable. There’s one by the River Martin that hadn’t been attacked for over 100 days until mid-March but because more people were staying “close by” they were walking down there. That has stopped now and the gym hasn’t been touched in 7 days.

Google Fit knows I’m not going anywhere

Blarney Woollen Mills is blocked off, but you could still get in to the grounds there if you hopped over a low wall. One of the gyms in there remains untouched after 15 days!

Blarney Castle Garden was open until a few days ago, but the new restrictions closed them.

Dave Bolger created a site called 2kmfromhome.com where you can find out how far you can exercise. Simply launch it on your phone and allow it access to your location. It will then display a map around you with a circle where you can go.

Work on the construction site across the road from my home has ground to a halt which we’re grateful for. The road outside is still clogged with dust and of course they never clean it up properly.

PPE, Personal Protective Equipment, is a phrase that has entered everyday language. Every country has shortages of it but Aer Lingus are flying to China to pick up PPE worth millions of Euro.

If I remember correctly the Government expects to buy €225 million of it over the next months. Unfortunately the latest flight had to return and make an emergency landing after a bird strike.

People are queuing outside shops because the stores have limited how many people are allowed in at one time. Going shopping is stressful. People jump back from you if you get too close. This thread on Reddit compares it to a survival game.

Last Week Tonight was filmed at home. Other American talk shows are too. Ryan Tubridy presented a couple of episodes of The Late Late Show without a studio audience but a few days ago it was reported he had tested positive for Covid-19. Miriam O’Callaghan took over last week’s show. Irish radio shows are being recorded at home. My wife rang the bank this morning. The woman she spoke to is working from home and thought it was weird. She’ll get used to it.

Chris Hadfield offered advice for people staying at home

In a sure sign that people are getting used to this new normal some on Twitter were worried that bots were congratulating and supporting the government on everything they do. I somehow doubt that’s happening and others have pointed out that it’s really hard to get a Twitter username without trailing numbers unless you come up with something unusual. I bet there are a whole lot of new Twitter users now looking for the latest news.

Concern that Twitter bots are supporting the government.

Fine Gael are no saints and they’ve made lots of mistakes in the past but they deserve our support at this time.

the state hospital
with one bed

always full
always efficient

Even Jim Corr, he who fights the New World Order and the evils of 5G had choice words for Paddy Cosgrave who is repeating all sorts of nonsense and lies. Quite a moment.

There are two many cases where people have spat at Gardai and told them they are infected. A father and son in Cork did this and were arrested. A woman in Dublin did the same.

I saw on Twitter this morning that a 13 year old boy died of Covid-19 in London. Heartbreaking. 🙁

If you have a few minutes write a letter to Andrew McGinley. In January he found his 3 children dead in the family home. His wife was found nearby and has been charged with their murders. Andrew is feeling the effects of isolation.

He is getting lots of post but this one just breaks my heart.

Amidst all that WordPress 5.4 was released. Yay!

I love the header image on r/Ireland.
I love these Zoom backgrounds.

FYI – the first case of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland was reported in late February, with the first case in the Republic two days later on February 29th.

News from Italy is still dire but they seem to be slowly flattening the curve there. 17 more died in Ireland yesterday from the virus. 🙁

Categories
Health

Making Plans for the Weekend

You’ve probably seen this one already:

Or it might look like this:

I was going to write a post featuring that image because Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced yesterday that everyone in the Republic of Ireland must stay at home with very few exceptions in an attempt to stop COVID-19. There’s an increased Garda presence with motorists likely to be stopped and asked where they’re going. Exercise must be taken within 2km of home.

The image used in the meme above isn’t great. Every time I saw it the floor plan was blurry while the text was pin sharp so I wanted to know if there’s a better version available.

Looking for that image I think I found the first or perhaps very early use of it on Reddit.

That image is a paltry 360×360 pixel image, without the headline text. It seems at least two different people created memes out of that tiny image and it went viral!

There’s a global pandemic in multiple countries and people are creating memes. This letter from Italy is right.

You’ll laugh. You’ll laugh a lot. You’ll flaunt a gallows humour you never had before. Even people who’ve always taken everything dead seriously will contemplate the absurdity of life, of the universe and of it all.

Edit a bit later: Gardai are stopping traffic as seen in this video. They’re talking to the driver through the passenger window. Via this tweet.

Categories
Health

The facts of food

Alternative facts have long existed in the world of food. When you create a powerful enough fiction, you are no longer bound by the need for evidence, for fact checking, for responsibility and a concern for the safety of the vulnerable. The people peddling the candida myth have discovered that in making up a problem, valuable new markets can be created from nothing.

From Captain Science vs the Army of Fungus

Categories
Health

The Weird Reason We Think Vitamins Are Good For Us

“No one needs to load up on cats” 🙂

Categories
Health

I always thought flossing was good for my teeth

This SBM article leads me to question the idea that flossing my teeth helps to prevent dental cavities and gum disease.

It’s more complicated than that.

Done “by professionals” it can reduce dental caries (tooth decay) but if you’re not flossing at least five times a week there’s little benefit to it. Maybe the professionals had a technique the rest of us don’t know, or perhaps they were more diligent about flossing during those trials. Who knows?

To floss, or not to floss? That is the question. Now that you are armed with the evidence, you can make the choice which is best for you. If you want to prevent tooth decay, you should focus on reducing your sugar intake, use a fluoridated toothpaste, and perhaps a fluoride mouth rinse. Whether you decide to floss or not depends on your desired outcome. For a fresh, debris-free mouth, yes, go ahead and floss away. If your desire is to prevent cavities or periodontitis, other methods are more effective.

Many years ago before I started flossing regularly I rushed to the dentist while on holiday with a terrible pain in my mouth. Fearing that a tooth would have to be pulled or cavity filled I sat in the chair, leaned back and the dentist took one look. He grabbed some floss and removed the crumb that had lodged between my teeth. The pain was gone!

So, just like the author of that article, Grant Ritchey, I’ll continue to floss every night. There’s no downside and my mouth feels better for it, even if the science doesn’t fully back me up on this.

Categories
Health

Why the hell is sitting so bad for us?

The numbers are scary. Sitting really seems to be bad if the observational studies and meta analysis studies are to be believed. Sitting for lengthy periods of time contributes to all sorts of nasty diseases like cancers and heart disease. It’s a wonder I’ve reached this age at all!

It doesn’t matter how much you exercise, it has no effect on how bad sitting is for you. You’re better off getting up and walking around for 2 minutes every half hour or hour than doing that intensive hour of walking in the morning. (damn)

And the findings were sobering: Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.

By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes, the authors said.

Looking more broadly, they concluded that an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV.

Get Up. Get Out. Don’t Sit.

I’m just glad I have a standing desk but I need to use it more often in it’s elevated position.

Varidesk Pro Plus

I have no idea why sitting is bad for you. The video above suggests a few reasons but it’s all speculation.

Via this Reddit thread.

Categories
Health

Why Is Fluoride Good for Teeth?

It’s well known that fluoride is good for teeth, that it stops or slows down tooth decay. How does it do that? This video explains the process by which fluorapatite is formed and remineralises the teeth. For a more detailed look, there’s also this technical article I found that’s worth getting your teeth into digesting. 🙂

The hydroxyapatite of tooth enamel is primarily composed of phosphate ions (PO43–) and calcium ions (Ca2+). Under normal conditions, there is a stable equilibrium between the calcium and phosphate ions in saliva and the crystalline hydroxyapatite that comprises 96% of tooth enamel. When the pH drops below a critical level (5.5 for enamel, and 6.2 for dentin), it causes the dissolution of tooth mineral (hydroxyapatite) in a process called demineralization. When the pH is elevated by the natural buffer capacity of saliva, mineral gets reincorporated into the tooth through the process of remineralization.

When fluoride is present in oral fluids (i.e., saliva), fluorapatite, rather than hydroxyapatite, forms during the remineralization process. Fluoride ions (F–) replace hydroxyl groups (OH–) in the formation of the apatite crystal lattice (Figure 3). In fact, the presence of fluoride increases the rate of remineralization.

Fluorapatite is inherently less soluble than hydroxyapatite, even under acidic conditions. When hydroxyapatite dissolves under cariogenic (acidic) conditions, if fluoride is present, then fluorapatite will form. Because fluorapatite is less soluble than hydroxyapatite, it is also more resistant to subsequent demineralization when acid challenged.