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.

I Had Some New COVID-19 Thoughts

But I can’t remember half of them.

I’m getting better at taking more time to wash my hands. I’ve always been acceptable about washing my hands; I’m not the “splash-and-dash” type. I nearly always use soap (the only times I can think of not using soap is if I’m literally rinsing something I can see from my hands, like if I was making a pasta dish and got sauce on my hand and just need to remove those drops) and even if I didn’t scrub each finger, I at least rubbed my hands together and wrung them a bit. Now, I still wring them, but I also scrub the backs of my hands, and the way I wring my hands together, both sets of fingertips get soaped up, and so does my left thumb, but my right thumb is on the outside during the whole process so I’m taking the time to wash it.

I bought cheap 18-packs of washcloths and I’ve opened two of them. I use them to dry my hands after I wash them, so that I don’t get any virus that escaped the soap onto a communal towel. I wash the washcloths every other day or so, so I’m washing my hands 18 times every day, give or take. And that’s just when I’m home. I’m an essential worker, so I wash my hands every time I touch something a patient has touched (cash, an insurance card, a prescription), so that may be another ten or so a day. I’m washing my hands 1.75 times per hour while I’m awake. I realize that it’s probably hopeless to think that my family can avoid this just by washing my hands enough, but everything I’ve read says that hand washing is terribly important in combating COVID-19. If everyone did a good job of washing their hands, the virus would be passing much more slowly than it is. So, if this is correct, and if I can keep from getting infected, then I can go a long way towards preventing my dad from getting this. Alex assures me that he’s washing his hands every time he touches cash or anything as well. So we’ll just plug along the best we can.

Thank God for e-scripts, though. The vast majority of transactions we undertake don’t involve any physical contact from the patient to us. The doctor sends in an electronic prescription, we already have the insurance on file, the patient pays electronically or with a credit card, we hand them the script, and send them on their way.

They’re supposed to be putting sneeze guards in our stores to protect us from, well, the patients sneezing or coughing on us. They started this past Monday, and as I’m writing this, it’s very, very early on Friday. Let’s see what comes first — the sneeze guard, or our first case of COVID-19 among our patients.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. Wow. I’ve read so many books, and there are so many that I just love, and I’m drawing a complete blank. I’m checking my Goodreads account for inspiration.

Ooh! Have I done any of Ally Carter’s series yet? Does it matter? No, it doesn’t. So, here we go, with the book that started it all (for me, at least), I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, the first book of the Gallagher Girls series. There are two more series where those came from and I think there’s at least one crossover story. That should get me to the end of the week.

COVID-19 Update

They keep fooling around with the hours at my pharmacy. They’re currently looking at 9 am to 7 pm. This means that on Friday I’ll be working 10 am to 7 pm. Let’s see how that works out.

I really need to work harder on my target languages so that if it does drag on for at least 18 months I can work on something that might not kill me, or my dad, or my son. I don’t know if I can get good enough at any of them to work as a translator by then, but let’s give it our best shot.

They’re starting new restrictions on the activity of citizens of San Antonio starting at 11:59 pm tonight. We can only leave our houses for essential or exempted activities. This includes both Alex’s and my jobs, so there’s that. Outdoor recreation is only allowed if we stay more than 6 feet from others participating in outdoor recreation. I walk pretty fast, and I’m pretty sure I can legally pass people on the path. The greenway path, where I measured it, is 10 of my shoe lengths wide. My shoe is about 10 inches wide (I just measured one), so that’s, what, 8 feet? So, I guess that if I cross over to the other side of the path when I’m at least 6 feet behind the person I’m passing and don’t go back over until I’m at least 6 feet in front of the person I’m passing, I’ll be okay.

I really want to know if this is going to lessen the number of people on the streets. I had the day off today and when my dad and I drove through for dinner, traffic didn’t seem appreciably lighter.

I’m trying to isolate Alex and me from my dad to the extent possible while living in the same house. We have our own bedrooms, bathroom, and living area. I bought a bunch of cheap washcloths and we’re using those to dry our hands. I was using the dish soap bottle to wash our hands, but yesterday I bought our own pump bottle of liquid soap so that we aren’t getting our COVID-y hands all over the dish soap bottle. I try to remember to wipe down the doorknob, refrigerator door handle, and light switches daily. Is there anything else that we touch that he touches? I’m sure there’s something, but I can’t think of it right now.

And it’s been brought to my attention that I need to put something like ” As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” somewhere on my page. So I just added a widget to the sidebar that says just that, just in case my usual chatty Gratuitous Amazon Link stuff isn’t “substantially similar” to ” As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Speaking of Gratuitous Amazon Links, hmmm. What book series have I posted already? I know I did Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Kane Chronicles. I think I’ve done Young Wizards, too. Have I done Heroes of Olympus yet? Well, just in case I haven’t, here’s the first book: The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan.

New Theme. Is it a Keeper?

I stuck the picture that Alex liked better in as my header image. I think it’s kind of busy, personally, but it might grow on me.

I’m working on getting a good picture of the Arsenal Street Bridge with the Pioneer Flour Mill in the background to see how he likes that. He liked this image because it wasn’t just a bridge and thus is more “travel”-y.

I think that I’m too short to get the picture I want, though. Maybe I can get Alex to drop me and the stepstool that we refer to as the “fish stairs”* off there and go around the block while I take a picture from a slightly higher elevation. Or, even better, maybe we could find a place to park and we could walk down there together, so he can keep me from getting so wrapped up in getting the perfect picture that I fall off the stepstool and break my leg or, worse, fall off the stepstool and into the river.

Will I be able to do this before the end of the COVID-19 outbreak? Will I need to wait until the outbreak is over? I look it up pretty much daily and everything I read says that outdoor recreation is still acceptable, even for people in the most locked-down areas of the US, like in San Francisco, just as long as you don’t get too close to strangers. Going out with people in your family is still acceptable. I guess that if I could get Alex to go with me during a work day or very, very early on a Sunday when we’re not likely to bump into strangers we could do it.

Of course, both Alex and I are “essential workers” right now. This means that we both have to go to work until we get infected. Alex is working for a restaurant with a drive-through, so he’s providing people with food. I’m a pharmacy technician and providing people with medical care. So I guess we’ll see if/when we get this thing.

Oh! A new-today discovery about COVID-19! It seems that one of the first signs of the illness is a decrease in ability to taste and smell. This may also be a symptom of a subclinical case (one that never develops really obvious symptoms). So I guess I need to keep something with a strong taste or smell around and test myself daily just in case. I had Indian food for dinner and could taste and smell it just fine, so yay!

Crap. I’m not sure what to do about my Gratuitous Amazon Link. Amazon has announced that they’re going to stop accepting non-essentials in their warehouses. I still want to hopefully be able to make a few cents (and maybe someday dollars) from this, so I hesitate to skip the Gratuitous Amazon Link. However, choosing an “essential” might not work long-term. And what would I pick? N95 masks? That might be useful for anyone who stumbles across my blog right now (and can wait until April 14 for it), but long run, maybe not. Maybe an electronic delivery. A downloaded music album, maybe? A Kindle book? Is clothing an essential? I’ve got it! Lupin Leaps In, by Georgia Dunn, the creator of the Breaking Cat News comic strip. Hers isn’t really the sort of small business that is likely to be affected by COVID-19, but a small business it is, and we really should support it.

* I had to stand on it to take care of Alex’s aquarium when he was little.