Saturday, May 15, 2021

Covid Update - From Zero to Sixty

face masks
On May 13th the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) did an about-face on their previous recommendations regarding Covid-19 and the wearing of masks. It announced that people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to wear masks or practice physical distancing in virtually all indoor and outdoor settings. The exception is that masks will still be required on buses, planes, and trains. The CDC suggests that unvaccinated people and those with a weakened immune system should still wear masks, however.

This announcement caught many people by surprise, considering that we had all been told that masks would be necessary until the country reached herd immunity through 70-85% of the population receiving vaccinations. The country as of May 14th stands at a 36.2% vaccination rate. So why the sudden turn around? There is no way to tell who has had a vaccine and who hasn't, and quite frankly the unvaccinated people were the ones less likely to wear masks in the first place. 

It did not take long for North Carolina Governor Cooper to follow suit. He has been more conservative than many of the other governors, so the fact that he immediately jumped on the CDC's bandwagon was surprising to me. On May 14th he announced that the state will remove its indoor mask mandate for most settings. Additionally, the state will lift all mass gathering limits and social distancing requirements. 

It is true that North Carolina's vaccination rate is better than the US average. To date, the state has administered over 7.7 million doses. 51% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 46% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated. That is still a far cry from the number needed for herd immunity.

Again, time will tell if this is the right decision at this particular point in time. For now I will continue to wear a mask when going into crowds, whether indoors or out. And the irony will be that while I am vaccinated, it will appear to everyone else that I am not since I will be masked. Better safe than sorry. I've avoided Covid for this long - I want to keep it that way.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Out of Gas

Following a hack of the nation's largest fuel pipelines, right now 70% of the gas stations in the Charlotte area are out of gas. Fueled, if you'll pardon the pun, by the media making an even bigger deal of the situation, panicked drivers rushed to the stations whether they needed to fill up or not. The parallel to the run on toilet paper at the start of the pandemic cannot be ignored. 

I've no doubt that a number of people filled every available container (legal or otherwise) with gasoline while they could. Both of our cars are, of course, low on fuel. Jim was unsuccessful in finding gas today. Had we known yesterday, we were playing tourist in a couple of small towns somewhat close to us, and there was plenty of gas and no lines. We could have filled up then. A day late and a dollar short...We have nowhere we need to be, so we can sit tight for a bit. I feel sorry for people who do not have the option to wait it out.

I'm happy we were able to play tourist a bit yesterday before we knew there was going to be a fuel crisis. We went to Dallas, NC where they have the Gaston County Museum. We wanted to learn more about the county we now call home, and this was the perfect place. This whole area is heavily influenced by the mills that once operated here, and it was cool to see the equipment that was used. The museum also houses the largest collection of horse drawn carriages in North Carolina, and that was interesting as well. We had lunch in Dallas before heading to Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia. We took a nice hike around the lake to walk off some of our lunch. 

Dallas NC and Rankin Lake

We learned that there are 13 towns that make up Gaston County. We decided that it will be fun to explore each of them.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Motherless Mother's Day

Mountain Island Lake dawn
Mother's Day began bright and beautiful, which seemed a little wrong somehow. This was our first Mother's Day without Jim's mom, and my mom has been gone for 32 years now. It's hard not to be sad on a day that is meant to celebrate motherhood, especially when your own children are nowhere near.

Jim and I made the most of the weekend though. Saturday we went to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Charlotte. Moms were admitted free this weekend. We had to get the tickets ahead of time due to Covid. The day was beautiful, and we enjoyed the beauty of the garden, along with the lunch we purchased at the on-site food truck. It was wonderful to be in nature and take photographs again.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Sunday Jim got me flowers and donuts, and he hand-painted a card for me. That was followed by a pickleball lesson taught by a local pro. That afternoon we intended to have one of our neighbors over for dinner, but she was not feeling well so we took the meal to her. 

Mother's Day 2021

As a followup to my previous post, we are very pleased with how our recent remodeling job turned out. The patio door is lovely, and has really opened up our view of the lake from the kitchen and dining areas.

new patio door