The #coronageddon Diary, Month 1

“Life as we know it is about to come to a halt, so let’s see how things are in May”, I told my daughter, when she was once again asking about our plans to visit Tallinn for a weekend in May. At that point Corona was still a very remote thing for us here. Not for long though. A few days went past and I was already telling her there won’t be any dance classes, or even going to school. 

reinstall2020

This is not a diary of being sick with corona, at least not yet (as I start the diary). Just some notes about my life during the 2020 #coronageddon [Corona epidemic] in Finland. 

Disclaimer: I write about my thoughts and opinions here; I am NOT a medical or political expert. I base my understanding of things on articles I read, and with all the contradicting studies and expert statements. I form my opinions and make my personal decisions on which ones I trust based on an overall picture.

[Blog posts about Corona can be found under the category #coronageddon – some in English, some in Finnish.]

>> Month 2
>> Month 3

Day 2 – Sat March 14

At this point, even though W.H.O. has declared it a pandemic, it has not even been declared an epidemic in Finland, though I expect that to happen within the next few days.

We are approximately a week behind our neighboring countries Sweden and Norway (who knows about Russia), though infection rate has been more rapid these past few days. Approximately 70 known new cases today, accross the country, though most here in southern Finland. Only two hospital districts out of our 20 districts don’t have any known cases yet. Way out there in the countryside. It would be a good place to live now…

Corona in Finland 140320
Image source: Helsingin Sanomat article https://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006439381.html

A little recap of said days.

Wed March 11 the amount known COVID-19 cases in Finland was around 50. I had self-quarantined myself due to a stomach flu, not fear of Corona. At that point, I didn’t yet feel the need to avoid anything. Things still felt safe.

Day 0 – Thu March 12 – It started to become quite obvious that we are here moving towards the epidemic phase with incresing speed. 50 new cases were reported during that one day, doubling the amount of Corona patients, one of them being a surgeon in our biggest hospital.

Our government held a press conference issuing recommendations such as cancelling or postponing all gatherings of 500+ attendees, and that people and especially those belonging to risk groups should avoid social contacts and any unnecessary activities like sports and other such hobbies. A lot more too, but those were the main take-aways for a regular Jane like me. Schools were declared to stay open still, except for those that had already had some Corona going on.

Within an hour, while I was still contemplating whether or not it was ok for my daughter to go to dance class in the evening, the messages started. Dance school closed. Gyms closing their doors. Sports events cancelled or playing to empty halls. Concerts and all sorts of events cancelled. Theaters closing their doors. And so forth.

Then my rock-solid husband notified me that he has ordered his whole team home remote working for at least two weeks and is going “corona-shopping”*. At that point things started hitting home:

  • My son works in the hospital where the surgeon with corona also works
  • I belong to the risk group with my asthma
  • My son belongs to the risk group with his asthma
  • My daughter belongs to the risk group with her excercise-induced asthma (which causes respiratory issues in normal colds and flu just the same as regular asthma)
  • My dad belongs to the risk group, being over 70 and having some heart issues

That pretty much sums it up. My husband is the mountain goat, especially since he’s not been smoking anymore for a couple years. The rest of us, well. Suddenly my instincts told me to gather my family up into our house and lock the doors and windows so that nobody can get in or out until this shit is over. This very biblical scene of jews in Egypt huddling in their houses as death moves around collecting first-borns hit my mind. I felt like painting a protective mark on the door with lamb blood, or something.

Day 1 – Fri March 13 – 60 new COVID-19 cases in Finland, 48 of them right here in our hospital destrict of Helsinki and Uusimaa. And then they stopped testing everyone.

I stayed home like I had for the whole week since that stomach flu hit me on Monday evening. Now there were two reasons – I still was not sure I was entirely well, and I already felt that I need to protect myself, protect my kid (the one still living with us; as for my son, he’s on his own and my heart bleeds), so daughter stayed home from school too, and will next week too.

City of Helsinki declared the cancellation of all events with 100+ attendees. City workers are adviced to stay home to remote work. But: schools will stay open. I say, what?! I started to try and get my Monday training cancelled, but apparently I will need to go the customer premises for it, but with any luck, all participants will be attending via Teams.

We had our monthly meeting at work and the stock-holder meeting as well – all via Teams. My headphones have started to require daily charging, due to remote working, remote meeting. At least I can do it. A lot of people can’t. You work at a hospital, you go there to do your work. You drive the bus, you drive the bus in the bus, not on home sofa. I worry about my son. Nothing much I can do to help, other than give some advice, and hope for the best. Yes, I am scared. Staying calm, but scared all the same.

toiletpaper
Selling toilet paper, €10 per roll. In Espoo, Finland. From Facebook

*) About that Corona Shopping. Yes, people got a bit crazy flooding the stores, many of them probably going a bit overboard, which is totally understandable too. My husband mainly had one goal: to make sure we have the basic supplies of our household stocked now (not at the end of the month, like usually) and enough basic food to allow us to

1) avoid the biggest crowds of the beginning of the epidemic time and
2) to ensure that we don’t need to be going to the store constantly.

The only thing unusual about his shopping was the timing. I’ll tell you, when our three kids were teens and living with us, we brought home more food than this twice a month…

This just to say that being prepared and able to avoid stores as much as possible is a worthy goal. Hoarding toilet paper and selling it for 10€ a roll in Facebook, not so much. 

Day 3 – Sun March 15

2020-03-15-13.24.08-1x
Sunday is my orchid watering day <3

We’re having a wind storm in Finland too, today, so our planned car repair gig to change the battery in my dad’s car got postponed. Also, despite the sunshine, I have no desire to go out to be blown away by the wind. Other than dog walks, that is.

Still waiting for the city to be smart and close the schools, but in the meantime I sent a message to my daughters teacher informing her that my kid will not be attending school for some time, so pleasde provide her the school work to do remotely. Many highschools are switching to remote schooling anyway; they have the technology, it’s all about willingness.

I also made the decicion that at this point I will not take the risk and go to the customer premises to do the training scheduled for tomorrow. Customer agreed to cancel the training as it cannot be done fully remotely – not that they really had a choice in the matter.

Day 4 – Mon Match 16

8:30I don’t think they still have declared this an epidemic, at least not in all of Finland, but it’s only semantics. They’re not even testing everyone, how could they understand infection chains anymore? There’s also now the first Finnish Corona patient needing intesive care.

As usual, first thing in the morning I did a news and Facebook feed scan. Some articles and discussions triggered a few thoughts about responsibility, rationality, restrictions, and recommendations:

  • Responsibility: it is so hard, especially for a country full of people who are used to doing exactly as they are told, where the government has treated people like brainless idiots who need mama for every decicion. “If something ain’t forbidden, it must be ok, nevermind how stupid it seems.”
  • Rationality: it is not only for your own good that you should avoid social contacts, it’s for the good of everyone. You may not fear for yourself, you may believe (and even be right about it) that Corona won’t be worse than regular flu for you – but what about all the people you infect before you even know you’re infected yourself? Not everyone who want to isolate themselves, can do it.
  • Recommendations: at least in Finland (and I believe it’s the same elsewhere too), most restrictions require the state of emergency and that is a drastic move no government will want to do hastily. Still, they could an in my opinion should close down the Uusimaa or at least Helsinki area, where the virus is currently spreading most rapidly
  • Restrictions (and said recommendations):
    1) they are not there to make life harder
    2) you are allowed to restrict yourself further (well, school is an exception for under 16 year olds or so)
    3) they are there to help individuals take responsibility – they ensure that a person can restrict their own life without consequences by binding the companies – and obviously serve as safety net for those unable to make decicions on their own

Now that said, I repeat myself: obviously no everyone can stay home for days and weeks. Thos who can, should, though. Not only for their own good (if you are don’t care about yourself, why should I?), but for the good of those who need to be out and about, even if they’re in a risk group, even if they really would like to isolate.

Of course, government(s) probably SHOULD be doing a whole lot more. While they’re being a bit careful – to help economy stay up, I believe, for they do try to balance everything, be it for better or for worse – people can still make choices.

2020-03-16 11.56.13-1
Chicken salad for lunch

15:00 – In the meanwhile in our household. We are all at home, driving each other crazy already (or it might be just me…). We will either create a routine around and with each other, or maybe end up killing each other. Husband working, I’m about to, daughter doesn’t have remote school work available yet. Husband did another store run, swearing he won’t go again this week. Home deliveries and pick-up times for stores are clogged, so he decided to go get a few more essentials.

For me, remote working is just business as usual. Even before any special reasons, I used to do a lot of remote work from home, as did most of my colleagues. Of course, we all went to the office every now and then; out of our almost 100 employees in Helsinki, approximately 1/3 is at the office normally. Today, there were maybe two people. In order to maintain some social contact with each other, a colleague of mine established virtual coffee break for the afternoon. It’s cool, especially since this way we get all of our offices – Helsinki, Kuopio and Dubai – together in the same “coffee room”.

My daughter’s school is practising Google meetings for virtual school. Some students were in school but it seems to me, a whole lot were not. I had bought a bluetooth headset for D for birthday – she’s turning 17 in two weeks – and decided it was time for an early birthday present. Apparently, schools will close all over Finland today – at least that’s the rumor currently – waiting for the government press conf in an hour, until then it’s only that, a rumor.

17:30 – And there it came. Finland is rapidly moving to a state of emergency, probably by Wednesday Schools close (mostly), restaurants, bars, museums, libraries, all public places are closed, travel is forbidden, government is getting ready to close borders, gatherings of 10+ people are forbidden, and all that.

As much as I was anticipating and even hoping for it, the announcement gave me chills. Tears gathered behind my eyes from the understanding that our life is changing forever. Obviously this will not last forever, but when we emerge on the other side, country by country, our world is not the same it was before Corona.

Day 5 – Tue March 17

10:00 – Woke up to a new world order. The sun is shining and the forest beyond our windows is as peaceful as always. Birds are chirping and spring is making the world brighter every day. Here in my library I might think everything is the same as it was yesterday and the day before and…  and yet nothing is the same.

Country after country is closing their borders. People are huddled in their homes, remote working, remote studying, worried about their loved ones, worried about themselves. Those who need to go out, need to work – nurses, doctors, the police, supermarket workers… – they do so with a dread, hoping their safety measures are enough, readying themselves to face the virus. Of course there’s still people who laugh at your dangers, ho! ho! ho! like little Simba. Hyenas just may or may not answer the laughter, but I hope they don’t endanger others than themselves.

How long will this last? One month? Three months? A year? Scientists are busy concocting a vaccination, but is it safe? Remember what happened with the pig flu vacc. What will the world be like in a few months? How many businesses are gone? How long will it take to rebuild? What will be rebuilt? How lasting are the effects?

Right now there are only questions and life day by day in confined circumstances. However, we still have movies, books, dog walks, forests (for those not living in the center of a city), video calls… We just need to make the best out of what we have.

iflifegiveslemons

21:00 – Even with the lesser testing our new known COVID-19 cases are on the same daily level as the day before they stopped testing everyone. Our tangential curve just kinda started all over again. One can only guess how many cases there really are. THL estimates 20-30 times the official 322 (next morning it was only 317, stats for March 17 having been updated to 40 instead of the 45 still visible in the chart below).

coronachart
Original image: Helsingin Sanomat March 17 (https://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006440845.html)

Government gave another press conference in the afternoon. Nothing new this time really, just more details about closing the borders and schools and stuffs. Martial law should be in force tomorrow; our parliaments was supposed to pass it already today, but things like this are slower than that. However, society is ramping down as people settle into their quarantines.

I noticed a funny change in my behavior today: even while being at home, I have stopped touching my eyes – with the pollen season they itch – or face otherwise with my hands, and use my wrist/sleeve instead to rub them slightly when needed.

Day 6 – Wed March 18

Might be day 1 of state of emergency lock-down, but damn, I’ve been home for over a week already, D and H for almost a week too! We’re still getting on each other’s nerves during the days, for I’m the only one with a remote working routine and rhythm, whereas H is trying to establish some sort of mutual lunches (I don’t usually do those even at the office, I have an oddish rhythm) and D has no remote school routine yet whatsoever.

“Mom, you so won’t make it through this!” D declared today, apparently seeing the smoke raising from my ears again.

She would need more attention and help from me in getting this remote school stuff going than I’ve been able to give during my work days. I simply haven’t had the time to read all the messages and instructions from school, nor make a remote school schedule with D yet. She gets bored and unable to concentrate and then comes to harrass me since I’m “available”, in a space without a door.

I have been a bit overloaded working long hours lately – mostly nothing to do with Corona – and trying to keep on top of this epidemic stuff, reading the news and watching the press conferences. I’m worried and stressed, so yes, I’ve been a bit on the edge here.

You know the first thing I’ll do when this lock-down is over for me? I’ll go to the hair dresser. Hope she stays in business through all this! My hair’s overgrown already; I should’ve gotten my hair done before this shit hit the fan here, but it just all happened so fast! Like going from “oh, it’s a distant threat” to “oh my god, it’s the coronageddon!” in on day or so.

So far in Finland we have 360 or so confirmed COVID-19 patients, three of them hospitalized in ICU. The numbers in eg. France, Italy and Spain are alarming, Hundreds dying per day in Italy alone.

Day 7 – Thu March 19

What to do when your 70+ dad has issues with FB Messenger on his tablet? It’s his only device with a camera and thus capability for video calls. Yesterday evening I tried to help him over the phone, but it’s quite difficult – even more so as he gets more and more exasparated. If I could fiddle with it for a while, I’d probably get the stuff working again, but walking my dad through all sorts of hoops and loops of trial and error while flying blind-folded myself is quite the strain. What a time for his tablet to fail!

Last night I had a dream I was at the office with my colleagues, going for a smoke with my pals, all that. I guess I’m missing the social interaction a bit… I haven’t even smoked for more than a week – not that that’s bad at all. Smoking is mostly a social thing for me, in addition to being an anxiety remedy. It seems that no matter what the stress levels have been here recently, anxiety levels haven’t been too bad.

Martial law is still not fully in power, for the process of accepting the government’s propositions in the parliament is sloooow. Oh well. Most of the stuff that concerns regular people didn’t need it anyway, so our state of emergency restrictions are in effect and have been since yesterday. Just waiting for curfews and enforced quarantines here.. Especially after the flock of idiots crowded the opening of a new supermarket here in Helsinki [insert eyeroll here].

crowd
People flocking to the entrance of a new Prisma in Herttoniemi (source: Hesari article)

D got a burst of energy and decided that she and I should start doing some workouts daily now that we don’t have dance classes. I’ll have to say it’s not a half bad idea! Now we both have a “workouts for women” app on our phones and started doing them today. Once on my lunch break, another after my workday. I’ll be so fit when all this is over!

Check out D’s day in Youtube (feat. mama and the doggos)!

Day 8 – Fri March 20

TGIF! Don’t know ’bout others, but this stuff definitely hasn’t lightened my workload! People talk about getting bored; I really could use some being-bored-time. I have all them books, some Netflix series, there’s the video dance classes and there’s even the 7 day free trial for Broadway shows – but I don’t have any more time for any of it than ever! Waiting for my one week holiday aroung Easter.

This morning I was in a workshop, planning the intranet of a customer, while monitoring D doing her math test online. She had music playing in her headphones, so she wasn’t bothered by my intranet jadajada. Once she had a network emergency, so we took a break from the workshop while I helped her fix the Internet connection. One of the customers retorted: “A lot of parents have been forced to play IT support this week.” Yup. I just wonder about those families, where the kid is the tech-savviest one while not so savvy either. It’s all easy-breezy for the kids of techies.

DSCN3001 (2)
Out with D and dogs in the late afternoon. Days are getting longer and the sun is out :) Nice weather for longer walks, if a bit cold still.

Around noon we got our first weekly food delivery from a local K-market. H has made sure we have a Friday delivery every week – usually he does the Friday shoppings. Our fridge is full of greens (and reds ;) ) now: bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. More than normal. He’s making sure we have the ingredients to make “SubWay salads” at home for lunch during the week, since he can’t go to the SubWay to get the salads now.

My son called me in the afternoon, a rare pleasure for mama. He’s doing good, all’s calm (well, calm Corona-wize) in the part of the hospital where he works in maintenance. He isn’t too worried and anyway, he needs to do what he needs to do. Was good to hear his voice!

Day 9 – Sat March 21

9:30 – Woke up to a sunny morning again. It’s spring time here despite having no winter to shout about. The death toll worldwide has climbed to 11 000 or so, Spain becoming the third country with over a thousand Corona deaths already. China seems to be doing quite ok, while deaths in Europe are ramping up.

Here in Finland most cases are around Helsinki, making people elsewhere feel like the government is exaggerating with all these restrictions. Ski centers in Lapland have been open so far, but they will be closed down during this upcoming week too. Those places have become the second most Corona ridden places in the country, people returning to their homes and carrying it with them, just like from Tirol. Need to learn something, really! A bunch of doctors are now quarantined and out of the work force for a while for attending a conference in Levi earlier this month.

korona
People have remembered that Corona is not only a virus and beer. I remembered this photo of me after winning a game of Corona, back in 1988 when I was 13yo.

17:00 – First Corona death in Finland. It was inevitable, obviously, but somehow it still struck me. Also, they have found more Corona cases in the children’s hospital – about half the staff is now quarantined. What about those little patients there?! This whole thing is really making me wonder: why did our officials wait for so long before reacting to this properly? Why didn’t even our hospital officials take it more seriously and understand that if it’s out there, it’s also here? How much worse will this get before it gets better?

THL – our health security organization – is for sure partly to blame. The director there still doesn’t even believe in the recommendations and predictions of WHO. So much smarter than the rest, is he now? And then the people, those idiots who still crowd to bars and supermarket openings and after skis and… How long will it be before we have full curfew here? How long will our government just monitor? I think they’ve done quite a good job after they finally woke up – it’s not exactly their fault that the experts in this country seem to be clueless.

Our amount of new cases officially tested and found daily is back to the level it was before they stopped testing everyone (one of the things WHO criticizes heavily but the THL dudes don’t believe in). 70+ new cases so far today, total being 521 now.

korona21
Enter a Original image: Helsingin Sanomat March 21 (https://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/art-2000006444843.html)

22:00 – Husband suggested we watch the Contagion from iMovie tonight. Apparently it was a 2011 flop with a top notch crew – Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, to mention a few. Fifteen minutes into the movie I knew why it flopped. It felt more like a documentary of something that hadn’t (and still hasn’t exactly) even happened yet. It was a lot like Corona outbreak, just a whole lot more agressive. Hopefully the world won’t come to the kind of chaos as depicted in that movie.

Day 10 – Sun March 22

12:00 – Just a leisurely Sunday. Nothing new in the world. People are still staying home and going about, depending on their level of intelligence and fear, I suppose. People are still catching Corona and dying of it. People are still avoiding contact. People are still disobeying curfews and getting fined, if not thrown to jail for it. People are being people. Stupid, irresponsible, self-centered, arrogant, idiots.* Be smart, stay home!

Meanwhile, responsible, intelligent extroverts are coming up with new ways of spending time together. People in our company WhatsApp group were talking about having parties and get-togethers with their friends, having drinks and game-nights together – all via Teams! Something us isolated intorverts don’t even think about, for we don’t do it anyway. Note, ISOLATED introverts. Like me and H.

*)  I saw this video of those spring-breakers in Florida and it got me quite pissed off. Stupid irresponsible self-centered idiots. The governor even refused to close the beaches! I mean, seriously, motherf*uckers! You ask me, they should’ve closed the beaches with those student on the beach side, to keep them from carrying Corona back home…

2020-03-22 10.58.45-1
Out on the morning walk

Outside, spring continues to spring. Sun is shining warmly warm, rabbits are fighting over mating, birds are birding and bees are beeing* (no, no bees as of yet). Nights are cold, like so often in the spring time, so we actually still have some snow on the ground, leftovers of the fluffball stuff that fell from the clouds yesterday when the weather was all BPD all day, going back and forth all day long between sunny and snowing.

*) Remember Moonlighting from the eighties? “Do bears bear? Do bees bee?” – David, a.k.a Bruce Willis

15:00 – After ranting about the idiots flocking to Florida beaches, what did I read? Finnish equivalents are racing to Lapland in thousands, despite the ski centers being shut down. Oh, I’ll just go to my cabin, it’s just me, no harm done! Thousands of just-me’s, potentially taking the virus into areas that so far have been safe, risking the whole health care in an area with barely the capacity to take care of their own. Where ambulances need to travel hundreds of kilometers just to reach you, and even more to get you to Rovaniemi.

And then there’s those air heads, mostly young boys, who spit and cough on other people, got to stores and touch everything, even lick everything, race up and down the metro cars touching every pole, every seat. With no regard for others, screaming “I already have Corona!” when someone tries to reprimand them.

Pepys
People don’t really change, now do they?

The number of confirmed contagions keeps climbing up. Today is the first day the amount of new confirmed cases passes 100, and it’s not even evening yet. Total count now is 626 – then again, almost as many are dying daily in Italy and Spain.

Day 11 – Mon March 23

9:30 – Another Monday. I haven’t worn jeans since Monday two weeks ago when I last was at the office. Sweats and a Tee or hoodie, every day.

I just read in the news that some Finnish hospitals are already running out of safety equipment. Like, WTF? This shit hasn’t even properly started here yet! Come to think of it, an MP was saying only recently that hospitals are recycling said equipment. Makes me real worried! If the hospital staff can’t keep themselves from getting infected, who’s gonna take care of all the sick when they’re sick too?*

11:00 – I am truly annoyed by this Finnish health organization THL and it’s overly careful and arrogant approach. They think they’re so smart, smarter that WHO and CDC. They think we’re so special here in Finland that the global recommendations don’t apply to us. Being an asthmatic myself, it totally pisses me off how they spread misleading and controversial information that contradicts what WHO and CDC already have declared. People are confused and don’t know what to believe.

If you are asthmatic (or have any other underlying chronic disease), yes you are in the risk group! THL uses this word “hoitotaspainossa”, which means your condition is in balance due to medication, ruling such chronically ill, e.g. asthmatic, people out of the risk group. What the fuck? CDC and WHO are quite clear on this: you have a chronic condition – especially heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, to mention some – you belong to risk group. Explicitly. There is no mention of “hoitotasapaino” anywhere.

Read for yourself:

14:00 – So far today 60 new confirmed corona cases, all in the HUS area of Uusimaa. We really should close southern Finland in order to protect the rest of the country. Our constitution has been built in such a way to prevent dictatorship, that it is now slowing down the actions of our government. I suppose it’s a positive thing – but in the meantime, people really should just take the recommendations seriously and stay the fuck home!

*) In the evening it was announced that our “huoltovarmuusvarastot”, the emergency supplies storages for hospitals are opened. Apparently, there’s plenty of equipment available.

Day 12 – Tue March 24

8:30 – I notice that I’m a little bit obsessed with my Corona news watch. I suppose it gives me some sort of sense of control in a situation where I can’t control much. Where the enemy lurking everywhere is so tiny that it goes through regular fabric and so persistant that it lives on surfaces for days. I stay home and go for dog walks, dodging other people on the paths, and hope for the best. H is the only one ever going to the store, and even then only if truly necessary and wearing a P3 protective mask and latex gloves.

Our life inside the house walls has been surprisingly peaceful and harmonious after the struggles of those very first days. So far anyway ;) Even D has been ok, spending time with friends in Google meets instead of hanging out somewhere, watching some Netflix and playing Sims4 when not doing school work. Her and I, we’re an explosive combo with our similarily flairing tempers, but we haven’t even had a single fight in these two weeks, I think.

tacohylly
People have been buying all the TexMex dtuffs from the stores ;) I guess  there’s a lot of tacos on menus now! (Picture: Mari Sarolahti, Yle, from an article about empty store shelves)

17:00 – Another full day workshop via Teams over. Got to say, it is somewhat more exhausting than face to face. Still, it works quite ok. I have made a habit of starting my video for a while in the beginning, but turning it off after the initial chitchat and/or introductions. This for a couple reasons: saving bandwidth and because it’s just kinda unnecessary. Most (Finnish) people don’t really seem to like to have the video on all the time and I think it’s ok.

D and I had planned to go out for a longer walk with the dogs again, but our nice sunny day turned stormy by the time my workday was done, so we ditched that plan and I cooked her some food instead. Maybe the weather gods will be on our side tomorrow.

Our government is preparing to close off Uusimaa. I have long thought that would be the wises thing to do, considering that 2/3 of our Corona cases are right here: 512 out of 792 are in Uusimaa. They are also preparing to close down restaurants and bars. Really, if people just would’ve taken this seriously and not went on flocking to coffee shops and bars etc. maybe they could’ve stayed open to serve some. Then again, I can’t really find the sense in that either. If there’s no customers, why keep anything open?

22:30 Things that make you go hmm. Yle (and Johns Hopkins) is showing three numbers now: infected, dead and recoverd. If the number of cured and dead never adds up to the total number of cases, what happened to the rest of the infected? Chronic Corona?* 🤔

coronastat
Red: confirmed cases, black: dead, green: recovered (Image from Yle)

*) Yes, meager attempt at stupid humor. 

Day 13 – Wed March 25

11:30 – With the world closing down due to the tiny invisible enemy attacking humankind from every corner, one cannot but wonder what it means to economy, travel, the modern world order, when it’s all over.

Right before the virus hit, angry birds like Greta Thunberg were trying to shake up the world leaders to understand the threat of global warming. The threat we as over-consuming and decadent people pose to the world we live in. I admit: while I try to make the responsible choices, I don’t believe in overdoing it. Our planet has gone through multiple climate changes before, and it will way after people have been wiped off the face of it. Which, I hope, will happen soon enough. Unfortunately I don’t think Corona will do it full scale anyway, so I try to survive too.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-25 at 07.46.35

My main problem with the climate change propaganda has been exactly this: big deeds are demanded from little people, while corporations do what they please, causing way more climate and pollution issues in one minute than I in my lifetime.

Anyhow, it is nice to understand that when airplanes stay on the ground, ships don’t leave the ports, people don’t drive around in their cars, nature gets a break. If our lockdowns last long enough, maybe the news about dolphins in the canals of Venice will go from fake news to actual news. Just maybe. I am quite curious to see if any of the changes that are happening in the economics right now will actually last. Whether or not business travel, leisure travel, industry, all that stuff goes back to how it used to be, or if local industries will rise up again an  the whole globalized economic system will be ramped down for good.

I’m not very confident. It has been predicted for a long time now, but so far it’s all been just ramping up. Until Corona, that is. Unfortunately the greedy have their teeth deep in the system, and the rest of us first world people are used to our lifestyle enabled by it. Somehow I doubt this Corona will really put an end to it. A halt, sure, but an end? I guess we’ll live and see – if we don’t die of Corona first.

uusimaa-Finland
Uusimaa, Finland (pic: Wikipedia)

22:00 – Hoping to go to sleep soon, but waiting for the government info about more restrictions like closing down Uusimaa. Not that they change my current life one bit, but interested all the same. The borders of Uusimaa might as well be one kilometer away instead of a hundred – that’s about as far as I ever venture from home anymore anyway. Even my lengthier dog walks still stay within, for it’s not warm enough yet.

Same goes for closing restaurants. It’s not like I go to restaurants too often anyway, now obviously not at all. Not even for takeout, which will still be possible even after the close-up.

Day 14 – Thu March 26

8:00 – Had dreams about socializing at the office with my work pals again last night. Work goes on, Teams chats and other messaging goes on, but I do miss the spontaneous chitchat at the office and spending time with my friends outside the office hours – not that frequent even, but usually monthly anyway. I’m not very social in the way that I don’t go out with friends or invite people over to our house or visit people at theirs much. I do enjoy the socializing at work and occasional recreational events with colleagues.

destanation
El Librario de los Jacksonas, like every day

An airplane flew over as I was making  coffee. A rare thing anymore. It sort of surprised me even though I know they still do fly despite all the lockdowns and border closings. Finnair is bringing Finns home form different parts of the world – also and ambulance flight or two bringing hospitalized Finns back from Malaga – and I suppose some travel still happens despite the travel ban. I still see these news headlines about Finnair cutting down flights to places (like Tokyo) so I guess someone still travels. Is there really enough necessary business travel to warrant any regular flights? Of course, cargo planes fly anyway.

domeuusimaa
Police will be blocking all roads, even the small backroads tomorrow.

Anyway, Uusimaa will be closed down for any unnecessary traffic between Uusimaa and the rest of Finland, starting possibly tomorrow, depending on how long it takes the parliament to pass the regulation. They’ve been totally slow in these processes, but that’s democracy for you. As said, they might as well lock down Helsinki or this few square kilometers area I live in for all I care. However, I think this is a wise move.

I believe this is the first time in the history of Independent Finland that there’s been travel restrictions within the country. It’s a pity that they even need to go this far – had people actually understood to stay at home and not flock the still uninfected parts of the country, these restrictive emergency laws wouldnt’ be needed.

20:30 – H went to the store today himself instead of having the food delivery bring stuff home tomorrow. He wanted some stuff from Lidl instead of the K-store. He said that there were only a few people besides him wearing any kind of protective masks, and people were looking at him like he’s a weirdo (well sure, that 3M P3 construction site mask is different than what people are used to seeing on the faces of  Chinese tourists). H was in the US military for a long time back in the 90’s, his expertise being biological warfare, so I suppose it gives this whole thing a bit of a twist for us.

The weather was amazingly nice today, so we had a glass or two of bubbly on our terrace today. It was cool still, but nice enough if you stood close to the gas terrace warmer. Earlier in the day D took the dogs out with her when she went to have a little picnic on blankets and I joined her with my laptop. I’m really anticipating the time when it’s warm enough again to just sit on the deck with my laptop, working right there in the sun.

2020-03-26 14.39.25
Half an hour of warm in the sun (with blankets :P )

Day 15 – Fri March 27

Out walking with the dogs I notice that people generally really are very religious about keeping the distance, passing each other as far as they can, slinking along the edges of the paths. But why do we all avert our eyes? It’s not like a nod or a smile or simple eye contact would make you more susceptible to corona infection! Still, I notice I do the same thing. Maybe even turn my back while waiting for the other one to pass as my dogs are sniffing the ground. Strange human behavior, part N.

2020-03-27 14.59.49
The brisket arrived with a complimentarty roll of toilet paper

17:00 – Another work week over. We have a brisket in the house now, waiting for H to rub some Slow Food Rub on it and stick it to the Weber grill to smoke for 18 hours or something. The meat arrived on our doorstep today fresh from a farm up in Pohjanmaa, ordered by H earlier this week. The dude rang our doorbell and by the time I opened the door, he was safely several meters away, smiling and waving and pointing at the box behind the door.

The cut-off of Uusimaa is postponed due to formalities. It was supposed to start at midnight tonight, but apparently our government needs to do some revisions for the regulation to actually pass. I really would not make a politician nor a lawyer. I understand that these things need to be done right, but I just wouldn’t have the patience. I’d end up shooting someone out of frustration. Yes. Kidding. But you get the point.

Day 16 – Sat March 28

Uusimaa is now in lockdown – they did get it into effect at midnight after all. H got an SMS from the government – VNK, ValtioNeuvoston Kanslia – this morning, informing about the close-up of Uusimaa. My message has yet to arrive. This is the first time our government has needed to do this kind of mass messaging, as far as I know.

In times like these I can’t help but understand how priviledged I am. My home is a safe place where I’m happy to be. We have plenty of food in the house and enough means to keep it that way as long as there’s supplies in the stores – or ability to order stuff straight from farms. We have jobs that are not immediately endangered by this shit – on the contrary. We are able to isolate ourselves, as our jobs also don’t require leaving the safety of our home. We have our own secluded yard with a nice big terrace and the ability grow our own greens if need be.

wfh

As content as I am in my secure life, it makes me a bit sad to understand that so many people are struggling and having it quite difficult. Financial problems are one thing, domestic violence another thing. These kinds of times just make it worse for those who don’t have it so good to begin with. There’s plenty of kids living in homes where parents beat and abuse them and each other, where parents don’t have the money or the interest to feed them, as parents drink most of the money that comes in.

Most people are somewhere in the middle ground. Had this stuff hit us a few years ago, we’d have been in a whole different situation too. I have gone through all sorts of hardships in my life – financial and otherwise – and I try to always remember that it doesn’t take much to rock my whole world again, too. I try to remember that while now I have plenty, that’s not the case for the majority of people, and it’s not a given for me either.

Which is why I try to help with that one thing I have: money. Making some donations to charity, especially those helping kids. In our company we have these Euro Jackpot group lotteries going every now and then. Yesterday we did a group charity donation, like we do aroud Christmas too, usually. Most of us are monthly donators too, all year round. It goes right into the values of our company: Take care.

And to brighten your day, watch this video so full of the joy of living even in quarantine. Our hope is in the youth <3 Vaskivuori Highschool Choir <3

18:30 – We went out for a car ride today. Initially to take a protective mask to my dad who still needs to go to the store for them, but we decided already before leaving to make it a little bit longer road trip. Just to get out of the house for a few hours. D wasn’t keen on going, I pretty much needed to force her hiney out of bed, but in the end, it was she who would’ve wanted our trip to last longer.

2020-03-28 16.04.23-1
Walking for a bit in a forest in Kirkkonummi

It was good to see my dad. Even from a couple meters away, just for a few minutes. He’s looking so old and defeated. They’re pretty bored in the house with his wife, but at least both of their summer places are within the Uusimaa limits.

Driving through the city I was just amazed by the amount of people out and about. Clusters of people here and there. No masks (natural in the open air, I suppose), but just too many people in too small of an area. Then again, while restaurants and bars are already closing their doors even though the regulation only comes to effect on Monday, there were plenty of bars still open and crowded last night too.

People still seem to think this doesn’t affect them and continue to live as usual. There’s still those who believe everyone is overreacting, because the reguler flus kill more than nine people yearly – which is the current death count in Finland. Obviously, what is happening in Italy has nothing to do with Finland, because they call them Corona Deaths even when the final cause was something else. Comma fucking, as we say in Finnish. Splitting hairs.

Day 17 – Sun March 29

So, Uusimaa has been closed down for a bit over a day now. Apparently not everyone believe in the road blocks, either, as the police had to turn more than 800 cars back from the borders during that one day. The total of cars attempting to cross was a bit over 16 000. We have 1218 confirmed Corona cases in Finland now, 831 of them in Uusimaa. People really need to just stay the fuck here and not take the shit out to the rest of the country – nor come here to take it back home as a souvenir.

2020-03-29 15.46.07-1
Our protective masks are actually meant for spray painting/construction work protection, but work against viruses too. Sunday, H actually did use it in the renovation project of one of our rooms.

I have a package at the post office and I’m expecting another one that was supposed to arrive on Friday but it didn’t. Also, a pharmacy trip is needed. I was talking about these to H, once again, and he, getting a bit irritated, responded: “Yes, I have told you that I will go to the pharmacy in due time! I will get your packages as soon as both of them are there! I want to avoid extra trips outside!” Made me realize that the one thing that most bothers me in this quarantine is the lack of control over these matters.

I mean, it doesn’t bother me that I can’t go to the customers or the office (though I do miss the daily interactions somewhat). I don’t mind staying home, not going to stores, going on lonely dog walks… all of that comes to me quite easily. I don’t get bored at home; I’ve always got things to do, and work still fills my work days completely. But I do have a problem with not being able to just leave and do things like get my stuff from the post office or get the needed medicines from the pharmacy. Lacking the freedom to just take care of stuff that needs to be taken care of, eats me.

Day 18 – Mon March 30

police
Police checking border crossers (original image from Hesari)

Pictures of police checking papers of people attempting to cross the Uusimaa border makes me go a bit hmm again. None wearing masks. Gloves, yes, for it is cold outside, but one has got to wonder if that would be the case if the temperature was even ten degrees warmer.

Perhaps they don’t exactly touch people or cars, but still I would imagine at least wearing a mask would be the thing to. Breathe in, breathe out, spread Corona from car to car. H said probably it’s a strategy for not spreading panic. I’d say it would more like spread the example.

One of the most important things that keep us alive and sane even through hardships, is humor. And it is wonderful to see the collective humor of people in this. And I don’t mean just memes and re-written songs like The Coronian Rhapsody, but just all the fun and uplifting stuff people are coming up with, that have or don’t have anything to do with Corona. Facebook is full of challenges, more than ever. I have always been a fun-loving person myself and even though I’m not even bored, I’m enjoying all the seemingly pointless little games.

2020-03-30 11.05.45
Invited a giant panda for a visit :) Couldn’t have been a better moment for Google to come out with the Animals in 3D AR than in the midst of this Corona shit!

17:00 Finland has – at least had before special actions to create new ones – approximately 300 ICU beds. In the whole country. Today’s ICU patient count for COVID-19 is 49. That is more than one sixth of the bed places, while it also is more than one third of the total of hospitalized Corona patients (143). Not looking good in any shape or form, at least not with my math and limited prediction abilities. Hope I’m wrong. So far thirteen people have died of Corona in Finland.

Since the total cases is a cumulative number, not the amount of sick people per day, it is impossible to say what percentage of infected people end up in the hospital. Also, no one has given a cumulative number on hospitalized patients (to the public). A bit of a curiosity to me is that the amount of people hospitalized at any given moment is growing by the day, while the daily amount of new cases is cumulating with the steady pace of about a hundred per day (except Sundays; apparently they test less on Sundays).

The City of Helsinki sent me a message this evening informing me about the phone numbers and locations of Corona help. No calling or going to your own health station with Corona anymore.

21:30 – Our government just confirmed that the restrictions that originally were to be in place until mid-April will last at least until mid-May. Also, new regularions are being planned, like restrciting the traffic between Finland and Sweden and Finland and Norway, there up north, further. It would seem that especially people working in Sweden while living in Finland have been carrying the virus back with them, as Sweden doesn’t have similar restrictions in place as we do here.

People inside Uusimaa are now cracking jokes about becoming independent of Finland, while the rest of the country is saying adios and posting pictures of huge saws cutting the border. Seems to me all parties would be happy if we just became the Republic of Uusimaa – we’d be among the 15 richest countries in the world too, so we wouldn’t even do too bad ;)

Day 19 – Tue March 31

2020-02-10 10.34.57-2
Dogs chillin’ together on the fatboy in our library

Our little russell-girl Meggie has a problem. Whole pack is home, but everyone in different rooms, even floors. She keeps wandering around, sitting next to each person for a few minutes before getting up and moving to the next one again. Must be quite stressful for a little dog! She needs to be behind a closed door with one person the be able to relax.

Used to be that when I was working from home, I was the only one home, and the dogs were either laying next to me, glued to my hips on either side, or napping together on the fatboy a meter or so away from where I sit with my laptop. Now Timmy the Ratonero (Bodeguero Andaluz) likes to stay on D’s bed and Meggie, well, she just don’t know unless she’s confined. And then she wants snacks constantly and sits staring at me like a Sicilian grandma giving the eye if I refuse to give her any :D

15:00 – I think it is some kind of an indicator of the situation that the two major news medias – Yle and Helsingin Sanomat – in Finland are not in sync with their statistics anymore. For the first couple weeks they were, but for the past days, almost a week or so now, they have given different and contradicting information. Like the info about the amount of deaths the other day, and today the infographics are totally heywire:

graphs
On the left: Yle, on the right: Hesari

Despite very different charts (for past few days), they do, however, agree on the total: 1384 cases in Finland so far. I do understand that they use different sources, but somehow tale-telling that numbers have started to differ in different sources. THL is of course the official source and according to them, today’s numbers are:

  • 1384 total cases
  • 137 in hospital care
  • 56 of them in ICU (!)
  • 17 dead (4 new deaths since yesterday)

18:00 – I notice I get increasingly annoyed when H just up and leaves. Why does he get to have the freedom to go to the store and pharmacy and whatnot and I’m stuck inside my home like a goddamn prisoner?! Rationally I know he tries to protect me, what with my asthma, but irrationally I feel like this Corona shit is just an excuse to keep me under his control. I shouldn’t need to ask if I wanted to go somewhere – like the post office to get my package(s)!

No, he doesn’t go anywhere too often either. Last time on Saturday and then we were all out driving around together. Before that, probably Wednesday or Thursday to get some food. Still. Just bugs me. I guess some of this “self-quarantine” is more about what H “allows” me to do or rather not outside of the house than what I’d do on a whim. I am impulsive (and impatient) by nature. I choose to abide by his judgement, obviously.

Day 20 – Wed April 1

April Fool’s Day today. Obviously Corona is not a suitable topic, but gladly we still have a whole lot of other topics for April fools. Many a chuckle as I scanned through my Facebook feed today – oh, and there actually was one Corona joke too. Hmm.

teamsoverhead
One of the funnier ones, what with the home schooling and stuffs. “Video tutorial: Using an overhead projector in Teams”

I’m not really good at that kind of kidding myself. My humor lies more in sarcastic retorts. The best, most successful April fool I ever executed was the time when I was 13 years old and told my dad I’d failed my history test. He went apeshit crazy (he being a historian) and I needed to pull out my test to prove it was just a joke before he calmed down. Next autumn, though, I kept passing my history tests and quizzes only ever so slightly, but my parents were divorced by then, so I escaped my father’s wrath as my mom was the one signing my tests.

2020-04-19 12.50.42
Our Meggie 8 years old today according to her passport

Personally for me, April Fool’s Day has always had other importance than the fools. My grandfather was born on April 1st, I myself was in labor 17 years ago on April 1st, though D was then born 5 minutes into April 2nd. Also, first of April is Meggies birthday according to her passport (for rescue dogs, it’s obviously just an educated guess).

Today D was supposed to go to the opera with my dad – a combined Christmas and birthday present full with proper servings on halftime – and Friday we were supposed to have my son, and my dad and his wife over for some birthday cake, but everything’s obviously now canceled. We’ll just have some cake tomorrow the three of us here. If I manage to muster up the energy to bake one…

2020-03-31 22.32.47
Many Finnish statues do wear masks now, thanks to some students’ cool prank

20:00 – I got my second package home delivered. Dude rang the doorbell and was below our four front steps by the time I opened the door, from where he pointed at the package, telling me (in English :o ): “There’s your package!” So, H agreed to go to the post office after work today to get the other one.

I drove him there and sat waiting in the car, and by the time it took before he was back, I already knew what he then confirmed: the small post office was packed with people. One person wearing a paper mask, others none. Except for H, who wore his 3M mask and got funny looks from people.

Our Corona cases are steadily rising, 70-100 new cases confirmed per day. So far 17 dead. Less than a hundred hopistalized at the moment, but 2/3 of them in ICU. Sometimes I wonder what will happen if the catastrphe never does hit Finland. Will people go around demanding that the government resigns for pushing forth all these restrictions (that proved unnecessary, since “we were out and about living the normal life all the time anyway and see what happened: nothing!”) or will they understand that it was the restrictions that prevented it.

People really aren’t taking it seriously here. Ikea parking lots are full on a daily basis, people crowd the stores, nobody wears a mask. I don’t get it.

2020-03-31 22.58.44

As I understand, this shit’s a ticking time bomb and our gorvernment has done a good job at least trying to slow it down. The next few weeks will show how this will go. Anyhow our country will be pretty much in emergency mode until end of May, even if all regulations won’t be in place for that long.

Day 21 – Thu April 2

“What a time to have my birthday. Can’t even go out”, noted D 17yo this morning. Poor girl. Everything is canceled.

At least for responsible people. I can’t rant enough about all those idiots crowding public places, still going to gyms, Ikeas, other such places. Despite the government’s recommendation to close all gyms etc. many places still keep them open (so that they don’t need to cancel and reimburse the monthly payments). They have only canceled the group activities.

I have so many thoughts on so many things, like e.g. this to wear a mask or not to wear a mask – I believe WHO bases their recommendation of saving the masks for medical personnel and those already sick (erhm, this contradicts the understanding even they have, that people don’t necessarily know when they are sick with Corona since so many don’t get any symptoms) on the idea, that if everyone started wearing them, the world would run out of them. I suppose they’re right about that too. I just think it’s quite dishonest.

I heard that Microsoft is changing all of it’s future conferences to online only. I think that’s awesome! Of course it takes away from networking together outside of sessions, but it also enables attending for those not willing to travel anyway – and maybe other big corporations could follow suit and global air traffic would permanently become less. It’s quite interesting how despite onlin technologies having ramped up in recent years, unnecessary business travel has ramped up at the same time. No need to fly here and there to deliver a one hour session, for real!

Dilbert Skype

16:30 – Another remote workday over. Headphones on for 8 hours with only short breaks in between. Tomorrow same deal. Feels like my headphones will evetually get permanently attached to my head.

We are so different as people, dealing with things so differently, getting stressed about different things. My extroverted single friend is distressed about working from home, about the loneliness at home, about the remote meetings, about not meeting people face to face, and going to work every day. I on the other hand get tired of all these meetings – face to face or online all the same – and what I need most after a workday is peace and quiet. That hasn’t changed while staying at home, at all. Of course, I have my family so even when I’m alone, I don’t feel lonely.

Corona death toll in Finland is 19. Still a slow curve, but going in a similar pace as it went in Sweden until the curve steepened more or less suddenly. Expecting that to happen here to within a week or so, as that is how much we are behind in the epidemic. We’ll see.

Day 22 – Fri April 2

springowlWeekend starting again. We have a typical Finnish spring weather today: snow and windy. We had maybe a total of 6 snowy days all winter long, but we just had to get one more round in April. Probably it’ll be snowing sporadically until the end of June… The neverending  November. At least days still keep getting lighter. This Corona quarantine stuff would be so much harshed in actual November, with days getting shorter.

Did a whole day training again today, with a bunch of people who didn’t talk too much. So I basically talked for six hours non-stop (with a 45min. lunch break). I’m beat, but pretty sure that the heads of the participants are buzzing as well after all the info I spewed on them.

2020-04-02 18.27.09-2
D 17 years old today

Our weekend starts with 1 new Corona death, 95 new confirmed cases, restaurants (finally) being forced to close their doors, Uusimaa continuing to be closed down, contamination in some old folks’ homes, freezer containers for dead bodies being hauled to hospital yards in Helsinki in preparation, an nearly half of the hospitalized patients being in ICU. H told me last night he wants to go over some legal shits (about his holdings or smtg) so that I know what I need to take care of and what I’m entitled to in case he dies of Corona.

I have declared that if I die of it, our other dog (the bigger one) will go to live with my son as D will move to her dad’s and H has a complicated relationship with the dog. Other than that, H only needs my thumb(print) and he’ll have access to everything. Sadly though, I suppose they won’t give it to him, so I guess I need to write my phone passcode and OnePass master password somewhere if I get sick.

Day 23 – Sat April 4

11:00 – I opened my news sources only to see that there’s been a huge increase in the Corona cases since yesterday. THL has reported 245 new ones since yesterday, 123 of which are in Uusimaa area. First time it jumped like that. They have increased the testing now too, though, so I guess it’s just that the numbers are getting a bit closer to the reality. This brings the total up to 1882 known cases in Finland so far.

I kinda get those people who escaped Uusimaa (mostly Helsinki; according to cellular data there’s now 28 000 less people in Helsinki than two weeks before the lockdown) to their vacation houses before the borders were closed. I have noticed a rising longing to go to ours here recently. I spent my childhood summers there with my grandmother, happiest times of my life. I feels like a safe haven to me.

Problem is, it’s not really mine to go to. It’s my dad’s summer home.

  1. My dad’s home: i.e. I don’t even have the keys to the place
  2. summer home: i.e. it is not suitable for winter living and even still it is too cold to stay overnight

H rolls his eyes saying people used to live in those conditions still a hundred years ago, so saying it’s too cold is stupid. If it was the way I needed to live, obviously I could. But it’s not. Still, I miss the place and sort of would rather be there – or at least visit for a day here, a day there – than stuck here.

Otherwise this stay at home business isn’t bothering me too much. I seem to adjust. Not even missing the social interactions like I did in the beginning, but more like just turning inward. Isolating myself further into my solitude. Of course there’s still my family here, so I’m not completely alone. D is falling deeper into her depression, which is a bit alarming. H is getting agitated, which is annoying. Dogs love it that we’re all here.

I have realised a couple positive impacts this isolation shit has on my life:

  • I actually manage to save money, when I can’t go out shopping
  • My fancy (Laura Vita) shoes stay better longer as I don’t use them currently

14:00 – It was a nice and sunny midday as I decided to take a bit longer walk with the dogs and my camera. While I was showering, I was thinking back to last summer and autumn, when I was trying to walk two dogs and take photos at the same time and wishing I had a walker belt.

2020-04-04 12.35.51-1
Properly rigged up on the dog walk

I used to go wall climbing years ago quite actively, but not anymore, and the harness barely fits me anyway. Waist somewhat but legs not. So I made myself a walker belt by cutting off the leg pieces of the harness and attached some carabiners on the loops and riggd myself for a photoshoot dogwalk. I had water for myself and the dogs, snacks for the dogs, and my camera (hanging from my neck though). I harnessed the dogs and hooked them to the flex leashes and set off.

 

Obviously I should’ve known there would be people friggin’ everywhere. Way too many people! The path I had planned to take was absolutely buzzing with people. Dogs looked as baffled as me as we stood in the crossroads for a while before I revised my plan and took a slight bit less trafficed route. Slight bit. I mean, everyone, their kid and their dog, seemed to be out walking! What can I say? I was there too, with my dogs.

Being quite exasparated, we slowly made our way to the little bay and then Meggie just didn’t even want to continue. So we turned back. My plan of a sunny walk of maybe couple hours turned into a barely half an hour outing. Did get a few quite springy photos, though.

Day 24 – Sun April 5

H decided to start a hydroponic garden in our sauna (which has not been in sauna use anyway for over a year due to broken electricity) in order to have fresh greens even when they get expensive or unavailable altogether in the stores. Also, he’s making a bucket garden for herbs and salads on our bedroom window sill. Maybe we’ll have better air quality in the bedroom then. I’m not entirely sure I like this project, but probably will forget the inconveniences once I get to enjoy the crop.

The-Seven-Sisters
Lucinda Riley: The Seven Sisters series

15:30 – I’ve been absorbed in the story of Maia D’Aplièse and her great-grandmother Izabel for the past hours. That is what I want to do most: read. As my Kindle dwindled and I needed to put it on the charger I decided to take a look at the daily news, i.e. check out the current Corona situation in the world and more specificly around here. As is normal on Sundays, the amount of new confirmed cases is significantly smaller than on other days, but we have three new dead since yesterday.

Yle published this map of Corona rates in the municipalities of Finland, showing the sad  but not surprising fact that most of the cases are in Helsinki, other bigger cities following suit. Helsinki 555, Espoo 176, Vantaa 100, Kauniainen 10, making the total of our capital area 841, which is roughly 2/3 of all of Uusimaa. Uusimaa total is currently 1189, which is roughly 3/5 of the total of Finland, 1927.

 

koronamap0504
Original image: Yle article

I can understand how all of these government regulations can feel silly and overboard to people living in those vast gray areas with no contamination as of yet. Then again, I would imagine they’re glad that Uusimaa is closed down. I know I would be. I know I am! No need to spread the virus around the country, better to just contain it here.

Day 25 – Mon April 6

Last night I had a dream that I was watching the news and they were showing people dodging authorities all around the Uusimaa border, crossing through rivers and forests to get to the other side. I was thinking in my dream that they all need a fine; they know who they are anyway since their faces are all over the national tv! Then the dream changed a bit as a dad with three small boys was attempting crossing and the dad fell down on the rocky ground and hit his head and for a while everyone froze, thinking he was dead. The boys were crying next to their dad, but then he started breathing again and managed to get up. Nobody tried to stop them anymore after that.

I woke up from my deep dreamy sleep and snoozed for over a half an hour before finally getting up to fix us our morning coffees. Another workday ahead, busy as shit. I’m hoping to start my one week vacation on Wednesday, but I might need to postpone it to Thursday. So many things to do before I can drop everything for a week!

Today marks four weeks of staying home for me. Last time I was at the office was Monday March 9th. That evening I went to the dance class and in the middle of the class got sick with a stomach flu. That day I also smoked my last cigarette so far. So four weeks of no smoking too. First I couldn’t stomach it (ha ha), then I didn’t need it and then I decidedly haven’t touched them since smokeing affects the lung health that is so vital with this Corona if you get ill.

As much as one hopes that the regulations of everyday life help with the situation, it is inevitable that the virus continues to spread, and just as inevitable, I assume, that I too will get it at some point no matter what I do. After the quiet Sunday, today the amount of new cases jumped again to 249 (2/3 of which again in Uusimaa) raising the total to 2176.

21:00 – It’s funny how quickly this isolated life has become a new normal. Feels strange reading about people traveling, meeting, greeting, and livign without the fear of getting sick or spreading a virus. The thought of regular life of going to work, stores, and all that again feels a bit scary. How will we know when it’s safe again? Will it be safe again? Though I’m sure we’ll fall back to our normal life just as easily again, when it happens.

Day 26 – Tue April 7

Random thoughts of the morning:

  • If you go to a hospital without a mask and shake the hands of Corona patients, it should come as no surprise when you get sick yourself. However, as I am not one to wish pain or death to anyone, I hope Johnson gets through ok. Still, can’t help but remember Forrest Gump on this one.
  • I have to wonder about people who still go to the gym. “Oh, there’s no one else there!” – obviously, since everyone else is duly staying home, apparently so that some ignorant/arrogant person can go to the gym safely.
  • There still seem to be those who want to have a perfect haircut and color when admitted to the hospital, judging by the complaints about hair salons being closed too. I suppose it’s a game of dare – those who still take customers may survive better than the others, if they don’t get Corona to put them out of business.
  • Those priviledged boaters seem to be quite an entitled bunch too, complaining about their outdoorsy lifestyle is now being restricted by the border guard. I get it – out on the sea in your own little boat you’re no hazard to anyone. But why should traffic on the sea (accross borders) be allowed when it’s not on land? Obviously you’re not supposed to go out of Uusimaa area by water either. Point is to confine people in one area to prevent the spreading of a virus, dammit!
  • I probably have it quite easy here in isolation, for I’d rather stay home and read a book anyway than socialize somewhere. Plus, I’m still working, and working from home is nothing new to me, even though I did enjoy going to the office almost daily for the past year or two.

introextro

19:00 – I am on a week long vacation over Easter now. Got my work wrapped up neatly at 5pm, closed all work related windows on my laptop and promptly moved to the personal desktop. I totally intend to try to be bored during this week! Read until I get tired and want to do something else (like that ever happens). Maybe find the motivation to do some more renovation stuffs in our spare room.

I just learned that one of my old friends is in ICU and not doing too well. I hope he’s not one of the 7 new deaths reported today.

Day 27 – Wed April 8

In Finnish we have this saying “ei koske minua”, which basically simply means that something does not apply to me. It has become anthem the ultimate selfishness of “can’t touch me”, like those kids going to Florida for their spring break, traveling despite recommendations to not travel, going to Lapland’s ski resorts despite instructions to stay home, trying to cross the Uusimaa border without a good reason, gathering in Vuokatti even though the ski event was canceled. Oh, but it doesn’t apply to me!

Due to the selfish thoughtlessness of people Levi became a virus hotspot, people leaving Levi spreading it all over the country faster than it would’ve otherwise spread, and the small area Kainuu now has a constantly growing amount of COVID-19 cases – all of which are traced back to that one single gathering – confirmed cases doubling overnight. Not saying that either case has made anything skyrocked here, just shows you cause and effect.

Overall in Finland the count is 2487 today, with 179 new ones since yesterday. So far, 34 people are dead, half of which are from old folks’ homes, 8 of which were in the same on somewhere up in Savo. By the way, we have less people in the whole country than most big cities of the world: 5,5 million citizens, half a million living in Helsinki, up to one million in the capital area of Helsinki-Espoo-Kauniainen-Vantaa altogether. To put my numbers in some perspective compared to worldwide numbers.

Since I got to the numbers now, just a few more, numbers and thought that is:

  • Every year there are approximately 290,000 to 650,000 influenza deaths worldwide according to WHO
  • So far, Corona has killed over 82 000 people in just a few months despite all the precautions and close-downs and lockdowns and quarantines that are not part of regular flu fighting
  • It’s probably impossible to fathom what the death toll would be without these regulations but I’d imagine a lot more, multiple times more
  • In Finland, the respective numbers are 500 to 2000 deaths caused by influenza (normally somewhere around 500, 2000 being the spike of the bad influenza season of 2017 to 2018), while so far Corona has taken 34 people, influenza several hundred again
  • Still, our country is even ow preparing for a health care catastrophy – multiplying the ICU spaces, bringing freezer containers to hospital yards, creating Corona isolation units… Someone out there is making sure we don’t get caught with our pants down despite the relatively low amount of deaths or hospitalized patients so far. Someone out there believes we still haven’t seen shit here. And they just might be right.

As said, the differences between flu and Corona are 1) we have no collective immunity 2) we have no real medicine 3) we have no vaccine 4) even though many have it really easy, those who don’t, have it real bad and require hospital care, intensive care, respirators multitudes of antibiotics due to all the infections that attack when the body is weak – and it’s not just about age or undelying ilnesses even though they do play a big part in deaths especially.

worldwithoutvaccines

15:30 – The weather was awesome when I went out with the dogs aroung noon, so I decided to take that longer walk down to the seaside without the dogs after feeding them and having some food myself too. I tried to get D to come with me, but with this whole staying home business, she has lapsed again to this rhythm of staying up all night and sleeping all day, so she just wasn’t up for a walk – literally. Needless to say that her school’s not going too well right now either.

2020-04-08 12.54.12-1
By the sea. More photos from my walk in Flickr

My introvert self loved the solitary walk to my teen haunts, my mom self would’ve liked to have D with me. Alone as I was, I was in no hurry, so here and there I sat down for a while to enjoy the sun on my face and wind in my hair, just like when I was teen and  Munkkiniemi seaside was my solace.

There were people around here and there, but no huge traffic like on the weekend. It was easy enough to dodge people and I noticed that I held my breath every time I passed someone. I was thinking back to the last time H and I were out and about carefree before the shit hit the fan here a month ago.

It was actually only a few days before this voluntary quarantine started, on Sat March 7th, that we were out for dinner, had some champagne and a taxi to the Bryan Adams concert in Espoo. We had a table of six for the two of us and were laughing that at least that kept us more than a meter away from others. I guess we we lucky that there supposedly were no carriers in th crowds close to us. Things might have gone quite differently for us if there had been someone with the virus.

2020-04-08 15.05.04-1
Rib roast delivery for Easter. They have a sense of humor at the Laidun Hereford Farm, packing a bottle of hand sanitizer and a roll of toilet paper with th meats :D

Day 28 – Thu April 9 (Maundy Thursday)

Mostly I have just ranted about all the crap that stupid selfish people do, putting others to dangr with their actions. However, if you look past all that and past all the sarcastic toilet paper memes, this strange isolation time has also caused people to do all sorts of good and amazing things they probably wouldn’t do in regular circumstances. People helping each other, people giving to others.

Koronavirus - Nallehaaste
Teddy bear in the window – pic helsinkitimes.fi

Like layed off Finnair pilots volunteering to help school kids with homework online, dance teachers making free dance lesson videos, musicians making wonderful Youtube performances such as this Habanera from Carmen by Quarantine Opera, musicians playing to the neighborhood from their balconies, people coming out to their balconies to sing together every evening, people playing Sandstorm from balconies at the same time, placing teddy bears in windows for kids to find and all sorts of things to make life better during this time.

Obviously the planet is also enjoying the break from human activies like flying and other travels. Unfortunately dolphins are still not hopping around in the canals of Venice, but the peak of Himalaya is visible for the first time in 30 years with the pollution down so much now, earth seems to have stopped vibrating causing way less seismic activity, waters are clearing. I hope this virus stuff brings on some permanent changes.

22:00 – Bored Panda posted the tweets of a nurse working ICU currently, and one of the comments on the story was “Thanks adding to the panic. Good job”. Scrolling a bit down in my FB feed was Unilad’s post “More Than 340,000 People Have Recovered From Coronavirus Around The World“. I guess ignorance is bliss and positive news is nicer to read, but really, closing your eyes to the reality of what COVID-19 is for those who get it bad is just sheer stupidity.

Understanding that most people get through it like it’s a “regular flu” is reassuring and seeing the numbers of people recovered from COVID-19 probably gives people hope (myself, I assume that the ones who don’t end up dead, recover and am able to do the math, no need for specific news stories about that), but that false feeling of security is the basis for the stupid behavior of people. It is the makes of not taking the virus seriously. Not syaing that there shouldn’t be any positive news articles or need for hysteria, for that matter. I just wish people would understand.

And not try to haul their families to their summer places outside of Uusimaa, when Uusimaa is still under lockdown. “People should have the right to go to their private cabin.” “It shouldn’t be up to the police to decide where people can go.” No, it shouldn’t and yes they should, but right now, we live in strange times with an invisible enemy. Those idiots are the reason Uusimaa is closed. If they would’ve just understood to stay home when they were told to, so as not to spread a goddamn deadly virus around, there wouldn’t be the need to restrict these rights.

Day 29 – Fri April 10 (Good Friday)

Day off for H too, today. In Finland we have basically four days of Easter holidays, even though technically tomorrow is not a holiday, but Saturdays are not workdays anyway for anyone in a nine-to-five kind of a job.

2020-04-10 19.55.55-2
Our rib roast cooked in the oven with horse radish sour creme coating

We had a bottle of bubbly last night for the sake of starting Easter and today H said he’d cook the first half of our rib roast. Yesterday we also went to the post office again. According to the note that was pushed through our mail slot, they tried to deliver this pump H had ordered for the hydroponic sauna-garden, but they never rang the doorbell. So he paid extra for home delivery but still needed to go get the package from the packed post office. According to the lady working the counter there the trucks are so full that they simply can’t manage to deliver all the packages properly. Somehow they moved it to the post office, though…

I made a few enquiries today to get a leather jacked custom made for myself. I would love to have this embroidered biker jacket with studs and stuffs, that I saw in a Facebook advert, but obviously it was faux leather and would be shipped from who knows where. H told me to google Finnish leather shops to see if one of them could make one for me. It costs more, but we can afford it and would again do our little bit to help out local entrepreneurs. Like ordering our meats now from the Laidun Hereford farm. Because we can.

22:00 – Less than a week ago there were 555 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Helsinki. Today the amount is almost 1000 (955). Worldwide the number is more than 100 000. The news are full of these numbers and the numbers of dead people around the world. As Yle wrote, Corona has thrown death on people’s faces more than maybe anything before.

Husband has had a scratchy throat and cough here recent days and while we’re rather certain that it’s just pollen related, allergy induced, another sinus infection, or something like that. D and I have both been perfectly healthy. However, he is talking a whole lot about the possibility of having Corona and dying of it. Seems that while previously he imagined that he would be the most probable survivor, he now has decided the opposite. I guess this whole situation has started to eat him somewhat.

allergyseason

Today we had a gloriously sunny and warm afternoon. All three of us were out on our deck atleast for a bit, having lunch outside and just taking it easy in the sun. To be honest, the wind was still cool enough that I had my blanket spread in the deck chair to ward off the wind, and I never once thought of taking off my woolly socks, nor my sweater, or even pulling up the pant legs. Still chilly. I really wait for nature to be all green and the daily temperatures to rise above 20C.

Day 30 – Sat April 11 (Holy Saturday)

D woke up today at 7:30 and has been extremely energetic ever since. She took the dogs for a longish, cleaned up the kitchen, made cappucinos for H and me, even brought us a peeled orange to bed, and has since been cleaning her own room. Boredom seems to have gotten the best of her finally on this Saturday morning. It’s been weeks since she last had a day of such activity. Mostly she’s stayed in her room, laying on her bed, doing whatever she’s been doing on her laptop – some schoolwork I suppose, watching Netflix, playing Sims.

2020-04-11 15.37.56
Meggie is quite puzzled by the clutter-free room, sitting where th mountain of clothes used to be

No news on my hospitalized friend so I go by no news is good news. Last I read he was doing a bit better, so I hope he is recovering. Then again, when his wife doesn’t answer anything to people asking about him, and that kinda feels worrysome. (I acknowledge I’m an overthinker.)

The sun is out again today, but the temperature still not reaching even 10C in the shade. Our terrace should be quite warm in the sun in the afternoon again, as long as one stays near the walls, protected from the wind. I might go out and read a while in the sun again today. I kinda would like to take the car to one of the less known outdoors areas of Uusimaa, but I think lazy gets me – I’d rather read on our own deck than traipse in the woods just for the sake of it. It’s not yet warm enough for me to be happy staying out for long, and it’s not yet green enough to get truly beautiful nature pics.

Many people have been desperate to get out of the city and into their summer places for Easter, only to be turned away by the police at the border. The lockdown should last only nine more days – whether it’s wise to take it down then or not, I can’t say – but that won’t much ease the pain of those wanting to be out in the countryside during Easter. Just defies me how they cannot comprehend the situation here! I myself am slightly scared of the moment when this quarantine stuff is over and people start flocking around again. Will it bring on an even worse resurgence of epidemic everywhere like WHO warns (if the restrictions are lifted too early)?

16:30 – Well, the day pretty much flew by helping D do a through clean-up of her room. The Himalaya of clothes is gone from the floor and all the clutter put away – either to drawers or thrown away. We took seven bags of trash out once we were done (not all of them from her room, though).

2020-04-11 15.24.13-1-1
H finished his sauna garden operations with a little bit of my help, too.  We now have ten chili plants growing in rock, with a recycling watering system running through and lamps and fans on the walls.

The sun was out and is out again, but right at the time when it would’ve been warming up our patio, clouds rolled in and it was actually snowing a bit (while temperature stayed at 7C; strange stuff). Anyway, I was busy de-cluttering D’s room, so no outside reading session for me today, and the weather’s been predicted to get colder again. I’m dreaming of summer!

There’s been 136 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Finland today, making the total 2905. It’ll be over 3000 tomorrow. One new death. The amount of hospitalized people is staying rather same. The curve shows no flattening at all, and yet the amount severe cases doesn’t seem to rise with in the same exponential curve. While the total cases curve shows no flattening at all, the curve for hospitalized people does. Is it a symptom of increased testing? The daily growth in the total amount of cases has stayed pretty same for some time now, but still the curve is rather steep. It’s an odd math, this whole thing, with more variables than these somewhat simplified manage to ever show.

chartsapril11
Chart sources: left Yle, right Hesari

This diary of mine will be about a few kilometers long before this shit is over. Maybe I should’ve just made each entry a blogpost like I originally contemplated, but I just kinda wanted it all to be one read. Didn’t really think it’d become such a long read.