Thursday, September 17, 2020

Why Missouri is getting worse


From Matt Halloway, local keeping track of the virus in Missouri

Good evening! Here is my Missouri COVID-19 Update for 09/16.

I was able to identify 1,517 cases from 90 jurisdictions and 23 deaths today.
Two things tonight, and a super long narrative:
Thing 1: Here is a link to the results of over 3,600 RNA sequences, submitted from 55 countries, quite clearly documenting that SARS-CoV-2 was not made in a laboratory.
Here is the “report”, published directly from Dr. Li Meng-Yan, that claims to have evidence that the virus was created in a laboratory:
I didn’t actually see any differences between what has been found thousands of times and what Dr. Yan found. What I do see is a whole slew of unsubstantiated claims, and a great deal of speculative information without a source. It’s crazy that people have tried to silence me when I am just regurgitating data that is publicly available and sourced, but will believe this story because it was on TV.
Regardless, I’m not here to tell anyone what to believe, really. “Facts not fear”, right? The facts are, quite literally, right there… But for those of you using this phrase with a negative connotation, be warned; you’re going to be super pissed when you find out that you are supposed to use actual facts to validate your claims.
In light of my news feed’s sudden uptick in ridiculousness, I would like to offer up some solutions to problems that seem to be more of a concern than COVID-19 itself.
If “the news is fake”, stop watching it, stop sharing it, and stop believing it.
If “Facebook is censoring the truth”, log out, deactivate your account, and uninstall the app.
There. The world’s two biggest problems solved, in only two sentences. I will sit here in my underwear and wait for a number of prestigious humanitarian awards to start rolling in.
Thing 2: [UPDATE --- I am working on confirming some information that was shared to me regarding tree he possibility of this guidance being rescinded, and will update this with additional information as I learn more]
Here is a letter from Larry Bergner, the Newton County Health Department’s Administrator, dated September 15th, as it reads from the Neosho High School website:
“Dear School Administrator
Last night, the Newton County Board of Health gave authorization for me to make changes that allow more flexibility in how we deal with contacts to a positive COVID-19 case in our Newton County schools. This will demand a high level of cooperation between parents, school districts, and the Newton County Health Department. Currently, a contact to a positive COVID-19 case is sent home for a 14-day quarantine and is unable to return to school until the quarantine time has been completed. I believe this can lead to many lost learning opportunities along with at-risk children not having their nutritional needs met and perhaps being in an abusive situation at home. Mental anguish continues to be a big issue during this time of pandemic, and I believe children have better health outcomes given the opportunity to attend school and participate in school activities. Therefore, at your discretion and upon your time frame, I, as the local Public Health Authority, allow contacts to a positive COVID-19 case to continue to attend school and school activities with the following conditions:
1. All contacts must always wear a mask/face covering except during a time that proper social distancing can be observed, specifically the ability to have at least 6ft between the contact and others. This includes during sporting or other extracurricular activities. For activities where masks are not feasible, contact must have a negative test for COVID-19 within 36hrs of activity start time before being allowed to participate in the activity.
2. School personnel and parents must monitor the contact for any symptoms of COVID-19 and must isolate the contact from others immediately upon any symptom development.
3. Contact must adhere to the conditions of quarantine in that he/she may attend school and school activities but must remain in quarantine at home at all other times until the 14-day quarantine has been completed.
4. School personnel must continue to identify and report those individuals who become COVID-19 positive and those who are identified as contacts of those individuals to the Newton County Health Department.
5. School personnel along with the Newton County Health Department will monitor closely those positive cases and the contacts and will immediately move to a more strict policy if the data shows a substantial increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases within the school districts.
Each school district can enforce this policy or a policy that is more strict if you so desire. This more flexible policy, if you choose to adopt, will go into effect at a time and date of your choosing. Keep in mind that these contacts will continue to be monitored. The only difference being they will be allowed to attend school and school activities. My hope is that this more flexible policy will protect all aspects of a child’s health, both mental and physical while at the same time allowing healthy children who happen to be a contact to a positive case the ability to continue to experience and benefit from all aspects of our exceptional educational institutions in Newton County. Also, be aware that if conditions warrant, one school district may be adhering to a more strict policy while another school district follows a more flexible policy. These decisions will be based on specific daily data which could differ by school district or even within the school district itself.
My decision to ask for this flexibility arose from close observation of data, specifically a comparison of positive cases within school districts compared to number of contacts within school districts along with overall county data pertaining to COVID-19. Please contact Larry Bergner, Administrator, Newton County Health Department at (417) 451- 3743 for more information.”
Keep in mind here --- this hits close to home for me, because… well, I spent the first 18 years of my life as a Newton County resident. I graduated from Neosho High School. I am still very much invested in the community. I compared this against both local and national guidance. I spoke with a number of health department administrators across the state. I consulted with some local leaders who I have come to admire and respect very much over the years. I have known employees at this particular health department for years.
And one other thought to offer a glimpse inside my wild brain… Candidly, this project has had me mentally circling around the idea of a career change. Yes, it has been mentally gruesome. A pandemic is like a psychological shadow that’s always following everyone around --- in the news, in your day-to-day life and the decisions you have to make, worrying about loved ones’ overall wellbeing and risks --- but when you have a miserable response to it, that darkness turns everything pitch black. Even so, I can’t disregard that notion entirely, because I’ve got that thing… that thing where you want to help people. For me, it’s been helping people to best understand the situation and enable my neighbors (close and far) to make rational decisions about what’s best for them. It has enabled me to do that, for my family, as well.
I’ve thought a lot about how to address this situation. I can think of at least five people who are going to smirk as they read this, and a few others who probably won’t have anything to do with me. With those things in mind, I am moving forward with what I feel like I need to say about this particular situation, regardless of the consequence.
This does not align with any CDC recommendation.
This does not align with any WHO recommendation.
This does not align with any DHS/S recommendation --- in fact, it seems to be the exact opposite of recent, regional communication from regarding ensuring families of students have a good understanding of what a quarantine actually means.
This does not align with any (ANY) other health department in the state, and with a quick scan, I couldn’t find any national entity that it aligns with, either (although I spent maybe a total of five minutes looking). Sticking to strictly Missouri, this will (in fact, it already has) created additional work in the form of fielding angry phone calls demanding the same policy be adopted in their areas.
This absolutely does not align with the expressed mission of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services --- it does not promote, protect, or partner health in any capacity, as far as I am concerned. Lunch this year is free to all students whether learning is in-person or remote. It’s literally on the same Neosho High School website that this press release can be found on. Plus, the release clearly states that the decision was not made using any type of statistical data regarding the claims of malnutrition or abusive environments.
For me, this does not reflect the best interests of public health. For me, this promotes a particular person’s or a group’s interests. For me, this is maybe the first time in my life (and yes, it literally happened in talking with someone tonight) where I had to give a “yeah, that’s where I’m from, but we’re not ALL like that” response.
To date, I have repeatedly supported local health officials across the state in believing that they are capable of making determinations about what is best for their own communities, based on a comprehensive understanding and consideration of the individual situations they face. After reading this press release, that offers no foundation for the decision being made, I can’t help but believe that the backbone that should exist to protect the community I grew up in has been compromised.
Given the fallout that this has already and will continue to create, both for the health of the residents in Newton County, and the contributions to already high levels of divisiveness in other communities across Missouri and potentially the US, it seems clear to me that whatever is going on in Newton County has reached a point that they have turned their backs on the people they serve.
With this development, the responsibility of looking after public health has fallen onto the shoulders of Diamond, East Newton, Neosho, and Seneca school districts. Diamond was currently in a week-long remote learning plan after reaching a certain threshold for required quarantines, but will be returning some students sooner with this new guidance --- except for those students who live *outside* of Newton County, which those students will be required to follow their own county’s regulations. The Diamond school district is rolling things all the way down to their lowest phase of COVID-19 response, and the press release from them issued tonight says it is specifically due to this guidance.
I can’t imagine that whatever is driving this seemingly rogue decision could outweigh the documented risks associated with congregating students who have been exposed to COVID-19 inside of classrooms. My heart is heavy for these educators and school personnel who are being sent back into a literal hell, and I hope someone with the authority to make this situation right realizes what they’re asking of the residents in the communities that they serve. Your public health officials are failing you.
- We are now at our second highest total ever for the moving 7-day average of deaths, contrary to the governor’s bit on COVID-19 today. It is no secret that the state’s data lags behind on deaths, in some cases by upwards of a month, and even my data lags. He made some bold statements related to deaths, which I would caution anyone to do without giving the state time to process those.
- Our 7-day moving average has increased again, representing a new all-time high.

Re Org time

 So now that the huge quilt is done, I need to reorganize my studio. I am going to try resin and leather crafting. This means I need a leather station and a resin station set up. I am taking a break from sewing quilts and will make room for sewing leather. Since no one is wearing masks in Missouri, I will stop making masks for a while. put fabrics away and get the studio ready for winter. The wood stove is in my studio and needs to have space around it open.

I am really into cephalopod  
these days.  Octopus and the sea in leather. I am drawing out ideas to try and make.

The harvest this year was great and most everything got canned. So I need to get the garden ready for winter and rest. We stay home most of the time and only go out for grocery pick up and feed store. The virus is hitting Missouri hard in our area right now. While the rest of the US is getting over it, Missouri is not 4th in the nation. And MO has smaller population and higher numbers. That stubborn stupidity is taking no prisoners here. So we stay away and keep away and mask up. Hopping things get better next year.

The Big Finish

Last year I was given a bag of cherished baby clothes from a mother of four. She lives in Chicago and has been longing for a queen quilt with these clothes on them. Her mother is a quilter but she just could not manage a project this big. I was given the clothes and color request of red, white and blue and all the clothes left whole, not cut up. I have done several t-shirt quilts where I cut up the shirts. This was my first foray into baby clothes.

And the finally quilt was 83 x 106 inches queen size sewing machine quilted not long armed. It is very heavy and quilted all over. Some clothes were stuffed for a 3D effect. The quilt was so big I had to baste it on my living room floor. After the quilt was done, We used our drone to shoot the photos of the finished quilt. That is my roof line on my black king sized photo frame. I had to add extra tables into my sewing studio to hold this quilt up for quilting. I also used every sewing foot and clamp I could find to keep tension while quilting. We just do not have the space for a long arm quilt machine. And I can easily quilt smaller ones without a long arm machine. But all in all this turned out very nice. The client is happy and that is what counts. I used heavy magnets wrapped in white gaffer tape to hold the quilt on the frame for the photo shoot.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Missouri Virus Update, not looking good here

This info is gathered daily from Matthew in Missouri. He does this as a father and a volunteer to share with the people of Missouri.

Good evening! Here is my Missouri COVID-19 Update for 09/02.

I was able to identify 1655 cases from 95 jurisdictions and 23 deaths today.
To submit cases or deaths, please use the new submission tool located here:
- 81% of counties added at least one case today (95 of 117 jurisdictions), which is a new record for the state.
- At our current pace, we will reach 100,000 cumulative cases on 09/09. I would say that this seems unrealistic, but the numbers keep proving me wrong.
- We are now averaging over 1,400 cases per day added over the last 7 days, breaking yesterday's record high.
- We’ve added 1,500 or more cases only four times during the pandemic --- 3 of those instances have been in the last 21 days.
- A collective warning has been issued to Kansas City residents as the metro area is on the cusp of a very dangerous situation. In an online event, the group comprised of health care and city leaders shared that Kansas City is averaging 90 new hospitalizations every day for COVID-19. There are some great statistics shared in the article which is here:
- Oxfam has published their rankings for the best states to work in during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each state (plus DC and and Puerto Rico) has been placed into an index based on employee precautions (45% weight), unemployment support (35% weight), and healthcare (20%). If you’re looking for a way to quantify the miserable response we’ve had, you can add this to your argument, as Missouri ranks #51 out of 52 on their list.
- Believe it or not, I have good news. A new set of pooled research pieced together from the World Health Organization suggests that patients who are severely ill due to COVID-19 can reduce mortality by individuals on a ventilator by up to 35%, and individuals who are on assistive oxygen by up to 20% (from an Oxford study back in June) by using dexamethasone, a corticosteroid that is widely available. The National Institutes of Health has revised their US treatment guidelines to include using steroids, but only for individuals who are on supportive oxygen. If I am remembering correctly, MERS and SARS reacted poorly to steroids and had a tendency to prolong the presence of the virus.
- Even more good news, during a press conference today Dr. Fauci publicly stated that he feels comfortable saying that a safe and effective vaccine will be developed by the end of the year, given the current status on a number of vaccine trials. That does not mean it will be widely available, but it is an encouraging sign nonetheless. He did not address rumors of having vaccines ready to ship out by November.
- The first death linked to the Sturgis rally --- a man in his 60s --- has occurred in the state of Minnesota, per the state’s infectious disease doctor.
- Thailand has officially gone without a new localized case of COVID-19 for 100 consecutive days.
- I once jokingly referred to those who were refusing to wear masks on the basis of makebelieve science as sociopaths… as it turns out, a study has been published from Brazil of almost 1,600 individuals were assessed on maladaptive personality traits, empathy, and compliance, and found that individuals who were less likely to comply with mitigation strategies greatly exhibited more characteristics associated with sociopathy.
[14] St. Louis County
[2] Jasper
[1] Audrain, Buchanan, Cape Girardeau, Cole, Jefferson, New Madrid
- Someone caught a typo on Howard County’s total, yesterday they read 151 but were and still are at 161.
- No decreases were reported today.
[College/University Cases]
I just want to issue a reminder that this is something that was asked of me from several people. I really, really don’t have the time to independently look up the numbers each and every day. I set up the submission form, and the only way I can keep providing it while maintaining the rest of my stuff is by collecting crowdsourced data and verifying it through screenshots.
I am in contact with someone who collects this data in a far more comprehensive manner, and I hope to be able to maybe collaborate with this individual at some point in the near future, but asking me to start running down cases per capita based on admission and tracking daily changes and where the individuals are being isolated… I hate saying no, but, it’s just too much for me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Ask not what you can do for me

As predicted Missouri fought the mask mandate. And now Missouri is becoming like NY. Our Covid cases are climbing very fast. And still we have people not wearing mask, nurses, teachers, adults and people who know better. I just hope they do not get the virus. We are still staying home. wearing a mask when out, avoid all shopping, church and other "normal" things. Only dentist and grocery pick up and that is it. 

We have avoided people and get stared at for wearing mask in public. But we just do not want to end up in the over burden hospital. We have noticed that business are open, schools are open and most are not wearing masks. And this is why our virus numbers are up and up. The virus is finally here in MO just like the rest of the US. And life is not normal. Toilet paper is still restricted on line and in stores, you can't get some products, many stores are closed and going out of business. But here in the Ozarks you can raise your own food, so we did that. We are gearing up for winter now. Time to cut firewood and get things ready. I miss what was normal and I hope things can change for the better in the new year.


Canning we will go

The harvest came in great this month. Tomatoes, peppers, tomatillo, cucumbers and more.

I canded diced tomato, juice and sauces out of roma, ox heart and slicing tomato. I gave away several bushels to whomever wanted any.

 I was able to harvest green beans as well. Only about 15 quarts but still a good amount for our needs.

And I got a cool apron from my big brother. Tee-Reaux is my nickname. It was a nice surprise and it will be put to work on the farm. Nice to have a Louisiana apron on a Missouri farm.


Sea Lover Box

This is what my husband and I have been working on these last few weeks. Am 8" x 6" birch wood box laser carved, painted and assembled for a gift for my older brother. His birthday was soon and I wanted to make him something special. We bought the thicker birch wood off Amazon. 

We have a glow forge laser and are still learning how to use it. But found a free pattern for the box here and I used some coloring book cartoons for the waves. Once we tested the pieces on draftboard we then made corrections for sizes and material thickness. Then burned the birchwood.  After the burning I peeled off the tape and started to paint the undercoat.

The  top of the box was thick and deep burn to showcase the waves.

Painting the top.

Testing the stains. I used unicorn spit stain which is a water based stain in brilliant colors. And they have some with glitter as well. But I wanted the scrimshaw look not glitter.  The unicorn spit is very rich hue and binding to the material. After the stain dried I tested out sealers. Most ran until I used a water based polyacrylic sealer. You can find Unicorn spit on line. 

All the pieces are painted and sealed and ready for assembly, glue and wax cover. I used bowling alley wax to give the box a nice soft sheen. I sanded 3000 grit between each stain coat, seal coat and then wax.

The final box finished. Left the inside unpainted and the bottom plain. Note the all wood mechanical hinges, no metal needed.

This was a learning curve for both of us. I had the designs and kind of box, but my husband had to work out the maths and the computer part. But it did turn out quite nice. And my big brother is very happy.


Saturday, August 15, 2020

Red Mystery

                         Daisy on her pillow                                         Melon sleeping next to Daisy.

Yesterday, I got up and rolled over to pet Daisy on the bed. There was no cat however on the pillow there were ten penny sized red drops of what looked like ketchup on the pillow. We do not have ketchup in the house. I woke up my husband and showed what I found. He had gotten up and had put the cat outside as she was acting odd. We went outside and looked her over and found no wounds but she was very unhappy with our examination. So we got dressed and headed to the vet office. Upon inspection and squeezing her bladder the vet said she had a bladder infection. He gave her two shots, upped her fiber and we went home. Daisy is feeling better and is getting to be her normal self again and less complaints. I got to strip the bed and wash a lot in cold water. I had no indications Daisy was having issues. She has always been touchy about being picked up. She is about 14 years old and lives outside and inside the house. She eats kitten food to keep her weight up. We added human fiber mix to her cat food intake. Daisy has a high pain tolerance and hides it well. I am glad I found the blood. It was the only indication that she was in pain.

Daisy was found as a kitten in a shoe box at our local police station in Houston, TX. I had to file a hit and run report and heard a lot of meowing coming from the officers desk drawer. When I asked about it he kicked out a box that was under his feet. In the box was a tiny kitten that had been dumped at their station that morning. I left and took Daisy to the vet. She ate 3 cans of tuna and the vet said he thought she would be just fine. That was 14 years ago and several cat lives ago. Once in a while Daisy leaves and goes on a walkabout on our farm but she returns to us when she is good and ready. We named her Daisy because of the spots in her fur. 

Something Fishy This Way comes

This is a wonderful large fish piece made by artist Rachel Laundon.

She also made this fish mask. She shares her creative process and personally answers questions about her art on Facebook.

 She is an artist worth following. She has created a unique fish world all her own.

Masks and harvesting

Yup, time to make more mask. This time I was asked to make several for a rural home health care worker. She explained that patients she visits cannot take a service bus and go shopping. They are alone, can't shop since you have to wear a mask, can't make one and have no means to get one and no family to help. The home care nurse does not sew and can't spare her own. I was asked if I could make several more that she can give to her patients. I have made some for this nurse in the past before the virus had gotten here. This is in a very rural town near the Black River area of Missouri. 
So along with sewing mask full time I am also putting up the summer harvest. Canning and freezing whatever is ready to go. 

All our hard work has paid off this season.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Cat Recovery

After three vet trips masked up and stared at, our cat, Cotton got better. The third visit was just a follow up.

She had an eye infection and I treated it at home with ophthalmic feline drops I had on hand from kitten fostering. They were working but she did have some scarring on her cornea and we were concerned, she might lose her eye. But after a vet dye eye scraping, and daily treatment (the vet was out of drops) she got better.

Those big green eyes are better and Cotton now hates cages and hilly car rides. The heat outside is over 95 and humid, so we traveled with ice packs to keep her cool. She is happy and watching me can tomatillo for green salsa.

Poach me outside

How 2020 is going in America right now.

A neighbor was given several Anjou pears. They so not like them and they offered them to us. The pears were very ripe and ready to be eaten. I poached them in fig balsamic vinegar, with sugar, cinnamon, fresh ginger then boiled down the simple syrup. I did not have any sweet wine so the fig vinaigrette worked  perfectly.

Next, I picked tomato and basil from the garden served with mozzarella cheese mmm so tasty.

Virus Rant

So the virus has been doubling here in the Ozarks. But all they care about is getting back to normal and getting the kids back into schools. Americans are so angry about everything these days. Jobs, makes, politics, and whatever topic you can think of. We have masks available here in the Ozarks lovingly sewn by locals and no one uses them. And the numbers keep going up. By the end of summer the rest of the USA might become like Italy. I hope and pray it does not.

These are weekly graphs generated by Mike Holloway. It is all fact based and has been going on since the outbreak.

The numbers for Missouri are going up.

These are the Missouri Counties. When we isolated in March there were 0 cases. Then Kansas City and St. Louis started, then after July 4th the numbers exploded and have been doubling daily.
And those who do not die and "recover" face a long battle of recurring exposure, limited lung capacity and lifelong health problems. If everyone wore a mask, social distanced and washed their hands, the virus would die out. But stupidly we spread it here for selfish reasons.