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Monday, Jan. 25, 2021

Feeling a little smug this morning because the governor just lifted the stay-at-home order for Southern California–and John and I just reserved a townhouse next to the slopes at Big Bear yesterday. They’re probably sold out now! With the big storm we had yesterday (snow in Malibu, they say!) and the storm due this evening, there should be plenty of snow in Big Bear by the end of February and I can’t wait. Not that I plan to ski, but John will enjoy snowboarding and I’m just excited about a weekend out of town and a snow-covered forest sounds perfect. I’m going to take lots of pictures then sit by the fire with my iPad and document Pandemic Trip Number Four.

I even ordered three new masks. Because mask recommendations have changed since the UK variant has moved in. My friend in Stratford tells me that one is terrible and I really don’t want to get any variation of COVID now that I am so close to getting a vaccination. Orange County is using the othena.com website and I keep checking, but I’m still “in the waiting room.”

I’ve always looked for colorful masks. For our first trip to Yosemite in August, 2020, I packed a few gaiter- type masks in different colors. I liked the convenience of wearing them around my neck ready to pull up any time we went indoors or saw someone approaching us on the trails. With my sunglasses they made a great disguise in case I needed to make a quick getaway. But they were light and gauzy–easy to breathe through but not very protective. Back in August you would see congressmen and reporters wearing gaiter masks on the news, but now they wear the fitted type. The CDC today doesn’t say you can’t wear gaiter masks, but it does say that if you do, they should be folded to wear as a double layer.

On our Labor Day weekend on the beach I wore heavier gaiter mask with a blue swirled design, but I don’t have any pictures of me wearing it. I wore it on the hotel grounds and walking outside, but not on the beach or eating outdoors at restaurants. By October I was into holiday masks–one for the fall and one for Christmas. Festive.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like masks any more than the next person. But I also don’t like getting sick and being stuck in a hospital with no visitors. Having worked in a hospital the better part of 3 decades, I don’t want to spend my retirement in one. So, masks. When it makes sense.

Now I see heavier fitted masks on news programs with colors that match your outfit. When I say fitted, I don’t mean the personal fitting required for hospital-grade N95 masks, just that the masks fit next to your face without gaping open at the sides. I didn’t see any I liked on Amazon, but I did order 3 floral designs from Wear the Shield https://weartheshield.com/ to take me into spring. They come with two layers and filters, so I don’t think double masking is necessary. The CDC just says “two layers of washable, breathable fabric.”

So I’m ready. I may even get vaccinated soon. I heard yesterday at Zoom church that several people who live in my area have already been immunized through othena.com, so there’s hope. In any case, I’m going to Big Bear on Feb. 26. Can’t wait!

Today’s Notable Headlines

“After snow in Malibu, US braces for series of wintry storms in coming days,” USA Today, Jan. 25, 2021. https://news.yahoo.com/snow-malibu-us-braces-series-152658633.html

“Other Countries Want Citizens to Upgrade Their Masks. The U.S. Just Wants People to Wear Them.” US News & World Report, Jan. 25, 2021. https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-01-25/biden-pushes-mask-messaging-as-europe-pushes-mask-upgrades

“California lifts virus stay-at-home orders, curfew statewide,” AP, Jan. 25, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/california-lifts-stay-home-order-virus-1c298c67338a5914f7c3857cd167edcc

“Infectious disease expert weighs in on whether 2 face masks are better than 1,” WCVB5 Boston, Jan. 25, 2021. https://www.wcvb.com/article/boston-infectious-disease-expert-weighs-in-on-whether-2-face-masks-are-better-than-1/35301737#

Additional Sources:

CDC Guide to Masks: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an estraordinary world crisis.

You are on History’s Edge.

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