Pokemon Go and COVID-19

With so many people in isolation, or quarantine, or social distancing due to COVID-19, Niantic has had to change up some of how Pokemon Go plays.

To begin with, they postponed March’s Abra Community Day. This was frustrating for me, personally, because one of my coworkers had asked me to work for her the day that Community Day was originally scheduled. I finally worked out a way I could do both (by eating Granola Bars for my lunch hour while getting at least some Abra caught) and agreed to do it. However, the activity that my coworker wanted to do was cancelled because of the virus, and so she didn’t need to trade after all.

I got to enjoy the idea that I would be able to do Community Day for, like, 12 hours before they announced that they were postponing Community Day indefinitely.

As areas started being locked down, Niantic made changes to gameplay. They sold boxes of 30 incense for 1 coin (I bought one immediately, but haven’t used any — more on that later), increased the number of gifts one can carry to 20, changed it so that every Pokestop or gym you spin gives you a gift, and halved the amount of time it takes to hatch an egg. There’s something else, but I can’t think of it right now.

Oh, along with the postponement of Community Day, they’ve canceled Raid Hour until further notice. Wednesday (the day of Raid Hour) is the only day I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be out early enough to socialize with my Pokemon Go friends, so that’s a bit of a bummer.

Now, as a pharmacy technician, I’m an essential worker. This is good news for me financially, and potentially bad news for me as a living, breathing, human being. You see, my job puts me at elevated risk (not nearly as high as for hospital personnel working with COVID-19 patients, of course, but higher than average). I have mild to moderate asthma, so I’m at ever-so-slightly elevated risk for serious effects from COVID-19 if I do catch it. So maybe someone here is looking for information on me after my unfortunate demise from COVID-19, in which case, “Hi! I washed my hands really excessively and tried really hard not to touch my face and worked really hard to keep at least 6 feet from anyone else and got moderate exercise to stimulate my immune system and apparently that wasn’t enough. Sorry!”

And that’s why I haven’t used any of my incense and why I spend one of every two coins I earn from holding gyms on Poffins. Because I may get this thing and I may have a very bad time with it. If I feel well enough to even mess with my phone, the Poffins will give me six hearts per day (double hearts for feeding my buddy) for five days so that’s 30 hearts right there, and if I can keep from getting it until after . . . Tuesday? that’ll be a sixth Poffin. If I feel well enough to actually play, then that’s 50 hearts with Poffins (six per day for feeding my buddy plus two per day each for playing with and photographing my buddy) plus another 24 for 12 days of play with your buddy and take a picture of your buddy for a total of 74 hearts? and I can burn two incense per day during my confinement. And if I can hold off on getting it until they have a vaccine or a treatment, well, then I have extra supplies.

However, since I don’t know whether I’m going to get it at all, and don’t know how I’ll fare if I do get it, I’m taking full advantage of the fact that I go out into the world and I go to the park to collect my full 20 gifts almost every day (I only got 18 today, however), so that I can make sure that any one of my friends who is not an essential worker or who lives in an area that’s really locked down gets supplies regardless of whether they can get to a Pokestop or gym.

By now, I also can, ironically, work Community Day (whenever it ends up happening) because I’ve kept my Abra as my buddy since March 4 or 5 (I see announcements of Abra Day both days) and I now have over 300 Abra candies. That’ll be enough to evolve my buddy and a shiny (25 candies to evolve an Abra to a Kadabra and another 100 for Kadabra to Alakazam) and I’m getting close to being able to evolve a third Abra, so I don’t need to catch Abra the whole three hours. I mean, it’d be nice to be able to do so, but I don’t have to be able to.

So, in short, three cheers to Niantic for making Pokemon Go easier to play for those in locked down areas. I don’t have COVID-19 yet, but I can’t guarantee that I won’t get it. I may make a kind of political post next complaining about the rates of testing (maybe with a side order of body horror about the testing process?) because that’s the freakiest part of this whole thing. We don’t know who has it. A week ago today, one of my coworkers took a script from someone who told her that he’d had a positive test *after* handing her the script. We had a guy with a bad cough today, too, and ended up disinfecting everything in the area after he left.

But, for now, it’s bedtime. See y’all tomorrow, probably.

ETA: Wow, I really screwed up the math last night. I think it’s correct now, though.

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