AndyO Blog

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Cancel everything

It’s week 3 of the great social distancing experiment for COVID-19. As predicted, things are getting progressively worse around the world and the US. Here’s the latest:
  • New York has become the center of the outbreak in the US. Cases are doubling every three days according to the governor of NY.
  • Spring Breakers in Florida didn’t heed the social distancing directive, so they shut sown the beaches and everything else.
  • Multiple states are in lockdown, including New York and California. Washington State is implementing a “Stay home, stay healthy” initiative, which is basically a lockdown rebranded. The governor didn’t issue this last Friday as many expected. 
  • The 2020 Olympics in Japan were postponed.
  • Trump has been having a briefing every day, which makes you realize how serious it is. Unfortunately, he’s getting bored with the situation and said he expects to get back to normal in a few weeks. After all, the economy is tanking, and that won’t help his re-election. Last week Trump admonished a reporter for asking what he would say to Americans who were scared? As many pointed out, this was the greatest softball question in the history of press conferences.
  • I’ve worked every day for the past 2 weeks. I thought my job was crazy before, but now I realize that wasn’t true. Fortunately, what I do has a direct impact on helping people during this time.
  • Cameron and Drew are now watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • I got the special Xbox $1.00 Game Pass deal, which will allow everyone to get more games. Of course, we could just get out all he old discs, but that would be too easy.
I’ve been through a few difficult times in my life (Mt St Helens erupting, 9/11, H1N1 pandemic, Zika), but this is the first time it feels like a World War is going on around us. People are hunkered down, Ford is talking about making ventilators—just like how they made B-24s during WWII. 

I’m just hoping all this social distancing pays off in Washington and elsewhere. I think we’ll be stuck at home through a least April. 


posted by AndyO @ 12:08 AM   0 comments

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Fear is contagious

Another long workday. My schedule: get up, go to work by 8/8:30, go for a walk around 11 or 12, work more, have lunch, and then work again. For some reason I run out of energy by 4/4:30, so I take a break and play games on my iPad. Sometimes I go back to work after 6:00 pm. Tonight, I had a call with our India team from 9:30-10:30 pm.

At least all of this work is distracting, which keeps my anxiety in check. The dazzling sun and blue sky also help. For a moment, you can almost forget about the crisis happening around us.

The news is always bad, so I try to limit my exposure. I know Italy had a record number of infections today—and has passed China in COVID-related deaths. I know New York is bad. California is trying to get everyone to stay indoors for a while. People are worried about food shortages. Health professionals are worried about equipment shortages. Trump said the states need to figure it out, because the federal government can’t fix all the problems. At least he appears to be taking this seriously now. He retweets posts from the CDC—people who know what they’re doing!

Unfortunately, a lot of people are still not taking this seriously—playing soccer at Greenlake in Seattle, etc. There are rumors of a real lockdown coming for Washington state, and it would be for this reason: people who don’t understand what social distancing is, who are putting all of us at risk.

In a “virtual happy hour” today with my team, one person told us that they had been to the gun shop to buy a handgun. Everyone on the call didn’t know quite what to say, although someone asked if they had any experience with firearms (it was unclear). This person said the gun shop was busy. Fear is contagious; people are preparing for the worst.


posted by AndyO @ 11:39 PM   0 comments

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Pandemic 2020: 2 weeks of WFH

As of tomorrow, I will have worked from home for 2 weeks. It’s been an adjustment for sure. Here are some of the things I’ve done to cope with this new environment:

  • Set up my workstation on the dining room table, including docking station and monitor.
  • Set up a desk for my wife in the bedroom.
  • Start each day as if I’m going to the office: take shower, put on work clothes, even shoes. My kids aren’t used to me wearing jeans instead of shorts around the house. I don’t change into shorts until I’m done working.
  • Try to walk outside once a day. Today I walked almost a mile!
  • Use video conferencing as much as possible. Seeing people’s faces is more important than ever.
  • Set boundaries with work, because working from home makes it easy to to go all day and night.
  • Find meaning: I’m working on projects that are important in the current situation. But I think we can help and support each other through small acts—even if it’s just being kind to each other. All the petty crap doesn’t seem as important anymore.


posted by AndyO @ 11:02 PM   0 comments

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Pandemic 2020: The story so far

It's been a little over 3 years since I posted to this blog. Given the historic pandemic with COVID-19, it seemed like a good time to start up again.

Here's a timeline of events:
  • Late December, 2019: A pneumonia of unknown cause starts showing up in Wuhan, China. The virus is eventually linked to the coronavirus, which is also responsible for SARS and MERS.
  • Jan 21, 2020: The first confirmed case of the virus is reported in the United States in Washington state. The man had returned from Wuhan, China. He recovers two weeks later.
  • Jan 30: The World Health Organization (WHO) declares a public health emergency.
  • Feb 11: WHO names the novel coronavirus "COVID-19."
  • COVID 19 spreads throughout the United States and the world during February, hitting Italy, Hong Kong, and South Korea especially hard.
  • Feb 29: The first death is reported in the United States. The person is a resident of the EvergreenHealth nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. Many of the residents test positive for COVID-19, and to date 29 have died (out of 41 total in the U.S.).
  • March 6: I start working from home full-time.
  • March 7: The world passes 100,000 cases.
  • March 11: WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic. This sets off a chain reaction of event cancellations across Washington and the United States. Schools in Seattle are canceled--first for two weeks, and then for over a month.
  • March 13, President Trump declares a national emergency and invokes the Stafford Act.



posted by AndyO @ 11:52 PM   0 comments