Friday, May 20, 2022

One Million Dead, and Counting

The U.S. has now recorded over a million deaths due to Covid. Many experts feel that is an undercount due to lack of tests/testing and reporting. At the beginning of Covid the press speculated that perhaps 200,000 Americans would die from Covid. We were appalled, and thought that couldn't possibly happen. Yet now look at the number! And where is the outrage? Are we just so numb to the numbers due to the amount of time we have been battling this virus? While it may be true that Covid will never really go away, similar to the flu, I hope it can be controlled to the point that we aren't looking at this number of deaths in the future. Too many people have not lived to see another sunrise.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

sign at winery last week
It's been awhile since I have written a post exclusively about Covid-19. But nearly 1 million Americans have now died from Covid. A million!!! Never did anyone imagine that we would lose so many people in our country due to this virus. And we are far from being out of the woods.

Unfortunately, signs everywhere are pointing towards an uptick in Covid cases. This is predominantly due to the mutation of this virus. The current variant, Omicron (BA.1), now has a subvariant called BA.2. Each new variant seems to be more transmissible than the previous one. The good news is that the new one does not seem to cause more severe disease in patients than the previous one. However having vaccines and boosters does not seem to prevent one from getting Omicron, though symptoms, hospitalizations and deaths seem to be less in those who are vaccinated.

Current thinking by the experts is that the coronavirus will never go away. It will continue to mutate, and will be somewhat controlled by vaccinations. Most people have gone back to their pre-covid routines, filling stadiums, concert halls, churches, etc. It is rare to now see anyone with a mask on. Though we have had our vaccines and the two boosters, we still wear a mask in places we feel we are susceptible to exposure. We are not going to large venues, or traveling outside the country yet. It's not perfect, but we also need to live our lives as safely as we can.

Here is where things supposedly stand: North Carolina has had 2.69 million cases and 124,598 deaths. In the United States there have been 82.6 million cases and 999,000 deaths. Worldwide there have been over 522 million cases and 6.3 million deaths. I say "supposedly" because most people believe the numbers are under-reported. Many requirements for reporting have been dropped, and with the availability of home testing there is no way to know how many people have tested positive.

Will I still be writing about covid at the end of 2022? I would like to think that I won't, but we are a long way from this being over. The supply chain in our country is still a mess, businesses cannot find people who want to work, inflation, fuel prices and interest rates are up. The airlines are a mess with staffing shortages and higher fuel prices, so even country-wide travel may be off the table for us. At least those involving planes. We tried to book tickets to Denver from Charlotte for June, and the cost (even with flexible dates) was nearly $1,900 per round trip ticket! It's just crazy. Fortunately there is nowhere we have to be, so we will plan more regional trips where we can drive the new car. And staying here and enjoying Mother Nature is no hardship. Below was yesterday's sunrise. We are blessed beyond measure.

Good morning, sunshine

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The PPA Comes Our Way

Last week the PPA North Carolina Open was held at LifeTime Charlotte. PPA stands for the Professional Pickleball Association, so that meant that many of the leading pros in the sport would be coming to Charlotte. Jim and I decided to volunteer on Sunday, since it was Mother's Day and we figured they would have a hard time fining volunteers on that day. We also offered to host one or two pros at our house.

Collin Johns & Patrick Smith
Because we have two extra bedrooms and bathrooms, Collin Johns and Patrick Smith took us up on our offer. Both are in the top ten of male pickleball players in the world, and had partnered up for men's doubles in this tournament. They also each played in mixed doubles.

As volunteers we could come on any or all of the days to watch play. Our guys had no games on Thursday, so Jim made them a nice breakfast while I went to my women's league play. Then they practiced on our courts here before heading to the venue to get some practice in on the indoor courts. Friday they played mixed doubles, and we went on a wine bus tour with our neighborhood. This event had been rescheduled from May of last year due to Covid.

Saturday the guys had their men's doubles games, so we spent the day at LifeTime watching. Someone ended up giving us wrist bands to sit in the VIP section, which was a slightly elevated seating area above the championship court. It was amazing to watch the pros play.

some of the winning pros

Our guys did not advance to the finals on Sunday, but we still had to work so we left them slumbering at 7:00 in the morning. As luck would have it, Jim got assigned to the championship court to check that guests had the correct wrist bands on, and I was assigned to the VIP section. Both of us had great opportunities to watch the gold medal matches of singles, men's, mixed doubles and women's play. It is totally different to watch the games live as opposed to on television or a computer. And to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowd was so fun! I definitely would volunteer to help out again, and Collin and Patrick are more than welcome to stay with us in the future. They were a delight to host. I learned a lot from picking their brains, and watching them play. Paddles up!