Blogs, Creative Writing, current events, Health, Uncategorized

Thoughts on COVID-19

You’d think an author who enjoys writing essays, fiction, memoirs, and poems would have lots to say and pen about the pandemic. Until now, this is only the second time I’ve blogged about COVID-19. On March 16, 2020 I blogged my state of Pennsylvania had 41 known cases of the virus. As I blog today, my state has 18,228 confirmed cases per the cdc.gov website. Increased testing is said to be part of the sharp rise in cases. The comments I’ve seen on social media highlight how the health crisis has affected the lives of Americans and the entire world. Lately, there’s so much noise around me I can hardly hear myself think. Most of my frustration with the noise is my fault. It’s been easy for me to get roped into reading and watching videos for hours about the latest COVID-19 news. Initially, I tell myself I’m only going to devote a certain amount of time to the latest news about the virus. Then, before I realize what I’ve done, I’m down a rabbit hole where my browser takes me literally around the world and back.

I’ve written in my daily journal twice since this worldwide health crisis began many weeks ago. The lack of dedication to my journal might be a subconscious attempt on my part not to panic. You’d think writing would do the opposite – it usually does, but not now. I don’t know what to think since the situation with this coronavirus is still fluid. Even the CDC, admits the way the virus is transmitted isn’t fully known. A blurb on the CDC’s website: “COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads and the severity of illness it causes.” See here.  

The virus became a pandemic this year, 2020. For the rare person that doesn’t know, COVID-19 is the name given to this novel coronavirus. According to the CDC, the virus’ symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. To say I feel numb at this moment is as accurate as I can describe my mood. As for the orders of my state and local government to shelter in place, I’m complying for my sake as well as my loved ones and everyone else. I didn’t have much anxiety about the stay at home orders in the beginning. As a full-time writer, my place of business is at my home. I figured my daily routine would be the same. I was wrong. There’s something about deciding to spend most of your time at home that’s freeing. However, being told one must stay indoors, is an entirely different thing. I lost focus on my daily activities to an extent. I’m sure I’ll get back to my normal routine in time. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to go out and invite the COVID-19 into my life or my household. I’m smart enough to notice what’s going on in the world. People are dying from this virus and this is as serious as it gets. I feel my government could’ve been better prepared – which is a conversation I don’t care to address right now. My problems at this moment are small in the scheme of things. I have to consider what I’ve read today about the number of deaths contributing to COVID-19 being approximately 1,970 per day in the United States. I’m thinking about the families of the impersonal number of 1,970. Those who passed away are more than numbers. The 1,970 are parents, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles who’ll never get to finish whatever life they were living. It’s probably unimaginable to some the amount of grief families experience when a loved one is stricken down so quickly. Sadly, I know the pain of losing a loved one so suddenly. The stories of people who seem to be well one day and in a critical care situation days later are scary. To make things even more concerning for me, African Americans have contracted the virus and are dying at a higher rate than other groups. See here.  

I’ve seen more than a few articles and posts on social media touting God, the universe, or some type of karma as the reason for this worldwide pandemic. The answer in form of a reason won’t ever come, I suspect. What I believe is the fallout from this virus will result in changing most of our lives either directly or indirectly. I’ve heard soundbites on television that the financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak will take years to correct. I’m sure lives have been altered forever and possibly many relationships destroyed as a result of the unemployment and hardships people are experiencing now. As with the 9-11 tragedy of 2001, I believe a positive result will be that people start to value family, friends and their fellow humans being more than ever. At least, that’s my hope. The person who first said ‘life is fleeting’ was wise. I’m continuing to believe my country, the United States, and our global community will bounce back.

Blogs, current events, Health

Virtual Connection and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Photo credit: cdc.gov

Virtual Connection and the Coronavirus

The coronavirus scare of 2020 in the United States is still in its infancy in my region. I’ve watched my state’s progress on the coronavirus map for the past two days. I don’t have any real-time data, but it seems the increase in cases is growing more rapidly in recent days. My state had 41 known coronavirus cases 48 hours ago. Now, according to the interactive map, there’s a total of 69 cases as I write this piece at half-past midnight on 3/16/2020. From what the medical experts are saying, I believe that number of 69 in my state could be exponentially larger in my near future. I don’t have many words of embellishment to make this a very long blog post. Sometimes, less is more.

What I will say is, IF the virus I first heard of as the “novel 2019 coronavirus” did anything good – it made people realize we’re connected in more ways than we think.

Guess what folks? We get the chance to combat the spread of the virus by helping each other from afar. How cool is that? Selfishness please go and take several seats. Social distancing is the buzz word I’m reading and hearing about across the airwaves and in cyberspace in recent days. In other words, “help me help you” by staying away from me if you choose to go out among the population for no good reason other than the fact that you can do what you want. Almost everybody needs to pay bills, and for the large part of the population affected by the closures, I hope containment of the virus happens soon and we as a nation go back to business as usual. Life is meant to be enjoyed and I have high hopes for me and my family’s future as well as my fellow human being.

In the meantime, my game plan is prayer, social distancing, self-care, checking in with my elderly loved ones and high-risk friends and family. I intend to spread cheer whenever I can.

Be encouraged – because we’re all in this together.

May God Bless us all.

Get the Coronavirus (COVID-19) facts on the links below:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

https://www.cdc.gov/

Blogs, Creative Writing, current events, Uncategorized

December 2019 Geminid Meteor Shower

Photo by Neale LaSalle on Pexels.com

I’ve considered myself a stargazer since childhood when astronomy became interesting to me. Although I’ve never owned a telescope, the dark sky has long been a fascination of mine. In the late 1990s, I belonged to an online group of amateur stargazers. The group would virtually discuss astronomical phenomena and meet offline from time to time for stargazing activities. My interests were fueled by my curiosity and love of viewing the night sky.

Meteor showers are one of those astronomical events I look forward to seeing whenever possible. The annual Geminids meteor showers happening this weekend from Friday, December 13th through Sunday the 15th, 2019 is no exception. While I no longer belong to a stargazing group, I still get excited to read or hear news of any upcoming event in the sky. Yes, I was one of those people who stood outdoors on August 21st of 2017 with a makeshift pinhole to view a total solar eclipse projected onto paper. Next, I’m anticipating the total solar eclipse expected in April of the year 2024. The North America path of the future total solar eclipse will track very close to my neck of the woods. Should I get to see April 8, 2024, plans are for a short road trip to an area where I can experience the total phase of the solar eclipse.

Anyway, back to the Geminids! A little background info: this upcoming meteor shower is said to originate from an asteroid, unlike most meteor showers originating from a comet. The sighting of the first Geminids meteor shower dates to the 1800s.

If I’m lucky, I’ll get to witness the last Geminids of this decade as they streak across the sky. Affectionately called “falling” or “shooting” stars, I consider meteor showers spectactacular. You can find optimal viewing times here. I’ve read the cold moon which happened shortly after midnight today, December 12, 2019, may bring some glare in viewing the Geminids. Luckily, I won’t need a telescope of other fancy equipment to see the Geminids shower across the sky this weekend. I will, however, need dark sky and warm clothes according to the chilly weather forecast.

Bonus: Stargazers, read more here about Comet 46p/Wirtanen which may be observable while you’re enjoying the Geminids.  

Thanks for visiting!

The source links below provide detailed information on these astronomical wonders.

https://blogs.nasa.gov/Watch_the_Skies/tag/geminids/

https://nationaleclipse.com/maps.html

https://www.space.com/34921-geminid-meteor-shower-guide.html