Pete's Log: Pandemic Madness

Entry #1840, (Life in General)
(posted when I was 42 years old.)

Jamie and I went to IKEA today. We wanted a small kitchen island and a small desk. It was weird, much of their display space was bare or under construction. We found an island that is now assembled in our kitchen. We did not find a desk. Every single model of desk in the store was sold out. Just another sign of these times, I guess — with just about anyone who is able to work from home working from home, there's probably a lot of people who suddenly decided they need a home office.

It's hard to even sum up what is going on locally, let alone nationally or internationally with this pandemic. The only other history-book sort of event that I wrote about these past 22 years was in retrospect easier to sum up. And right now our country seems to manage a 9/11 worth of deaths every couple days. And we're becoming numb to it.

Illinois has been in phase 4 of reopening since the end of June. Back then, we were seeing less than 1000 new cases a day and a positive test rate of about 2.6%. We're now back up to 2000 new cases a day and a positive test rate of 4.1%. The state has doubled its daily testing over the past couple months, so a rise in detected cases is to be expected, but the rising positivity rate is troubling. Still much better than a lot of other states, but still trending in the wrong direction.

Back in early July when we were trying to decide if we would send JB back to daycare when it reopened, things in Illinois obviously looked better. With both of us working full time from home and JB having become quite mobile, we found ourselves in a tricky situation. On top of that, sometime since her daycare closed down in March, she suddenly became very interested in other babies, adding a social aspect to the decision on top of the being able to work aspect.

Our daycare is part of a large national chain, and while our center closed, they had many centers stay open to cater to essential employees who still needed child care. So there was a certain experience level with the situation, and I couldn't find any news of outbreaks at any of their centers.

And also, while the case count in Illinois is on the rise again, much of that is happening in the South and West of the state, and also mostly among 18-29 year-olds, and hospitalization rates haven't seemed to increase, although of course that's a lagging indicator.

That is all to say, I have no idea what is going on or what is safe. Quarantine fatigue is definitely a thing and it's strange to see even among some people who were especially diligent about isolating during the first months of this thing and now have become more lax.

What's odd is that the daily case count in March and April was lower than it is now, but back then it felt like it was everywhere. Back then we pretty much just went on walks (avoiding any other people we saw out and about) and shopping for essentials. The past month or two, we've done a few backyard hangouts with friends and patronized a few restaurants with outdoor seating. Brookfield's done this nice thing where they shut down part of Grand Avenue (where several restaurants are located) on Friday/Saturday/Sunday so those restaurants can have outdoor seating on the street. People around here seem to mostly be good about wearing facemasks when they're supposed to, so we've felt comfortable enough with the outdoor dining situation. We bring along extra hand sanitizer just in case. But it's weird how it's changed. And now daycare. JB seems to be really enjoying it, so that helps. Please let a vaccine come soon!