Sheltering in Paradise

Enjoying zoomtails  |  screen shot by Flo Hoylman
Even the birds practice social distancing  |  photo by Larry Clinton
Moody sunrise...
...and even moodier sunset  |  these two photos by Melanie Rovens
Is there an ice cream store at the end of this rainbow?  |  photo by Linda Davis

As we cope with the coronavirus quarantine, Jane and I have been trying to find special places to walk each afternoon. Recently we strolled Cavallo Point. When I sent the photo below to Jane’s daughter Jennifer, she replied: “What you two call quarantine other people would call honeymoon!”

Mother Nature cooperated by producing moody skies and other special effects which led to a spate of great photo ops around the Bay. Thanks to everyone who shared photos for our accompanying slide show.

Perhaps now more than ever is the time to pause and reflect on the beauty of our surroundings, and the cohesiveness of our community. Folks are coming up with clever ways of communing remotely.  Recently, Michele Affronte, Mari Steeno, Julie Durbin, Flo Hoylman, Katherine Boschetto and Candida Pierce logged onto Zoom to toast each other from the comfort of their own homes. People in Mill Valley began howling on their doorsteps or decks each evening at 8:00 p.m. as a gesture of solidarity and support for first responders and health care workers. Unfortunately, the howling freaked out some neighbors and their pets, so various other group exercises have been suggested, like singing and bell ringing. We can be sure there’ll be more to come.

Alternative Rules

As the pandemic rages on, some of the early rules for fighting the virus seem to be changing. We were originally advised to unwrap all packages, grocery bags, etc. outside, and then discard the packaging once the contents were brought indoors. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told Trevor Noah that mail delivery and other packages are a very low risk, because the virus doesn’t live long on those surfaces. The greatest risks include high-touch surfaces like door handles, or handshakes. The most effective ways to limit risks continue to be frequently washing our hands and avoiding touching our faces. And, of course, social distancing. Flo Hoylman found that keeping the shopping cart behind her at the checkout stand distances her from the person behind her.

Lots of people originally believed in wearing masks when out in public, shopping or running errands.  But the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control both advise that surgical masks and N95 respirators are not needed outside of healthcare settings. However, the Washington Post recently reported that new CDC guidelines may recommend the public wear a “do-it-yourself cloth covering.” Great, so we’ll all look like bank robbers.

Clearly, the situation is very dynamic, and as tired as we may be of all the grim news, we need to stay informed as doctors and scientists come to grips with the greatest health crisis of our lifetimes.

If you have any tips, anecdotes or photos to share, please send them along.

Clear skies at the Golden Gate | photo and post by Larry Clinton