Day 12

For a thing that human beings invented, time sure seems to have a life of its own. One day we're rushing to get it all done, the next day the bottom falls out. Urgency dissipates, and things that once seemed critically important aren't even on our lists anymore.

I'm a naturally anxious person for whom time has always been troublesome. For most of life, I've been in an irrational hurry, eager to finish one thing so I can move on to the next. Out on a hike? Get me back so I can sweep the porch. Reading a book? Wrap it up so I can start the next one. Out to dinner? No dessert, it takes too long.

As I read what I just wrote, I know it sounds kind of sick. But it's hard to fight. Anxiety for me is hard-wired, beyond any sense of control.

The Internet is struggling under COVID 19 traffic

That band is not quite as broad as we thought:

In late January, as China locked down some provinces to contain the spread of the coronavirus, average internet speeds in the country slowed as people who were stuck inside went online more and clogged the networks. In Hubei Province, the epicenter of infections, mobile broadband speeds fell by more than half. In mid-February, when the virus hit Italy, Germany and Spain, internet speeds in those countries also began to deteriorate.

And last week, as a wave of stay-at-home orders rolled out across the United States, the average time it took to download videos, emails and documents increased as broadband speeds declined 4.9 percent from the previous week, according to Ookla, a broadband speed testing service. Median download speeds dropped 38 percent in San Jose, Calif., and 24 percent in New York, according to Broadband Now, a consumer broadband research site.

I am not a tech person (by any stretch of the imagination), so I won't preach too much about the types of activities that may be clogging the system. But I do know this: The gaming industry plays a pretty big role here. My son recently bought a used video game (physical disc), but before he could play it on his platform (physical console), he had to download some massive updates. We started it, went to dinner in a restaurant that was busy, and when we got home it was just finishing the downloads. Hello, 1992. Anyway, don't be surprised if the quality of videos on Netflix and Youtube seems to deteriorate:

Thursday News: Can't wait a month

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LAWMAKERS LIKELY TO CALL SPECIAL SESSION FOR COVID 19 RELIEF: A draft bill filed Wednesday would finalize some temporary changes already made administratively by Gov. Roy Cooper in the areas of jobless benefits and tax deadlines. But other changes have to be made by lawmakers, and leaders of the Economic Support working group that met Wednesday signaled they may push for a special session soon. Legislative leaders have said for days the state needs to wait to see what the federal government does before taking action and that no response bill is likely before the regular session resumes. However, Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, said some changes may need to be made immediately. Howard said the most urgent need is to ease the strain on the unemployment filing system as it processes a record number of claims – more than 166,000 thousand since in March 16, far exceeding previous records set in 2009. Allowing employers to file claims on behalf of all of their employees would dramatically reduce the flood of applications, speeding up claim processing for everyone, she said.
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/lawmakers-could-hold-special-session-for-virus-response/19028513/

Day 11

Today marked a turning point of sorts for Jane and me, a simple acceptance that we're in this for the long haul ... and that there's nothing we can do to change things.

For me, life looks a lot like it usually does. I am an extreme introvert and am accustomed to spending weeks at home without going anywhere in a car. I've learned over many years how to be with myself comfortably and quietly. I don't get bored, I clean house instead. I don't get lonely, I make art instead. I don't need to see people in real life, I meet them online, just like I have for the past 15 or so years.

NC's unemployment benefits are a national disgrace

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The NC GOP should be ashamed when articles like this are published:

Because it’s administered by the states, the generosity of UI varies widely. Most states offer up to 26 weeks of UI, but some offer far less: Florida and North Carolina offer only 12 weeks currently, though their generosity increases with the state unemployment rate. Missouri offers only 13 weeks per statute, a number that doesn’t increase with the unemployment rate.

There’s similarly large variance in the recipiency rate — the share of unemployed people getting UI — and benefit size as a share of the average weekly wage. The highest recipiency rate is in Massachusetts, where 57 percent of unemployed people get benefits. In North Carolina, only 10 percent do.

Get that? Only one out of every ten unemployed North Carolinians receive benefits, which means they are out of work a hell of a lot longer than the paltry 12 weeks we offer. Said differently, the draconian measures Republicans enacted 7 years ago are not pushing people back to work, they are pushing families out of their homes. But that 2013 bill did something else, too, which was beyond idiotic:

Wednesday News: The bottom line

RESTRICTIONS ON ELECTIVE SURGERY FINANCIALLY SQUEEZE RURAL HOSPITALS: Preparing for coronavirus patients is increasing the financial strain on rural hospitals, some already struggling to stay open. Many smaller rural hospitals in North Carolina mirror their larger, metro-area counterparts in preparing for coronavirus patients: making plans to add ICU beds, examining staffing requirements, and preserving gloves, masks and gowns. But the official government request to restrict elective surgeries during the pandemic could add to rural hospitals’ financial pain, said Dr. Roxie Wells, president of Hoke Healthcare. “Immediate funding is needed given the request from [the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services] to suspend elective surgeries,” she said in an email Tuesday. “In many instances, a rural hospital’s bottom line is inextricably tied to the ability to perform elective surgeries.” Pressures of responding to the pandemic could force more rural hospitals to close, she wrote.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article241462756.html

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