I started writing this journal because the history of the coronavirus response is already being written by politicians, journalists and scholars but far too many of the personal stories are not. Here in this blog is my small effort to speak of my experience of how the pandemic is changing my world. I started it in February, 2020 and plan to continue monthly as things develop. I will publish the previous months journal during the following month.

Situation Summary: Since December 31, 2019 and as of August 30, 2020, 25,029,408 cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, including 843,158 deaths. A CDC forecast projects more than 200,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by mid-September, as the country approaches 6 million confirmed Covid-19 cases.

August 1, 2020 – 4,591,867 cases in the United States with 151,384 deaths.

Went to the grocery store and farmers market before returning to dig up opportunistic oak trees from in and around Dad’s fig tree. These were mainly from nuts squirrels buried and forgot but also from fallen nuts from the large oak trees nearby. There were two that were taller than me and few other big ones but I also dug up more than twenty a foot high or smaller. Sheesh, that was hard work. It had me cursing the poor memory of squirrels.

Made Cheetos chicken breasts. Remarkably good and a great use of Cheetos, the cheese that goes crunch. Recipe HERE.

August 2 – US cases have reached 4,591,868 with 151,384 deaths

Washed the car and grilled 3 boxes of burgers – Bubba original, Bubba jalapeno and Publix original. The Publix were ¼ lb burgers and the Bubba were 1/3 lb. We actually enjoyed the smaller one. Plenty of beefy flavor.

Made chocolate pistachio slice and bake cookies. Very good and was able to freeze a portion to make the rest at a later date (when the chocolate urge is strong). Recipe HERE.

August 3 – Louisiana has 120,846 cases with 3910 deaths. Alabama has 89,927 cases with 1580 deaths.

Took dad to PT and then finished packing the car and drove to New Orleans.

My next door neighbor is having work done on his siding and the worker was parked across my drive. We chatted a bit after he moved his truck about life, the universe and everything. I’d step back every time he moved closer as he wasn’t wearing a mask until I finally had to ask him to stay about 6 feet away. He rolled his eyes but agreed.

August 4 – 90890 cases in Alabama with 1611 deaths. In Louisiana there were 124,461 with 3937 deaths.

Took a walk in the morning to revisit the neighborhood. Found a cat sitting behind the iron bars of a gate. Thought of the Richard Lovelace line – “Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage”

Had an IWO board meeting in the evening and we met via zoom. Stayed within the time, so that was good.

August 5 –1,401 people died of COVID-19 in the United States today.

I don’t have any words.

August 6 – US cases 4,848,741 with 156,228 deaths

Went to Baton Rouge to do the inventory for Barbara’s Books at the Macy’s Mall of Louisiana. Spent a bit of time getting the book displays looking good before I did a hand count inventory on an excel file.

Got a call from the rental place inspector that there are two issues that must be fixed within 24 hours plus several others that must be fixed by 9/3

August 7 – Cases in Louisiana are 128,746 with 4089 deaths. 94,827 cases in Alabama with 1674 deaths.

Worked with Ron at the rental place. We were able to get the emergency items done and he knows what needs doing in the outside and inside. I had a talk with the tenant about letting me know when things go wrong – the leak in the kitchen could have been fixed before all the damage to the cabinetry under the sink.

August 8 

On May 21st the global number of Coronavirus cases reached 5 million. Today, the US alone had 5 million cases. Oh, and New Zealand has now gone 100 days without a Covid-19 case (https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12354489).

I made a vanilla pound cake as I’ve been craving vanilla. Recipe HERE. It went with the beef brisket I smoked on the grill. My friends, Charlotte and Thomas, came for dinner and brought a Swedish dessert bun so we had that instead of pound cake.

August 9 – 128,746 cases with 4089 deaths in Louisiana. 97,735 cases with 1707 deaths in Alabama.

My a/c isn’t working properly. It is running all the time but the temperature won’t drop below 86 degrees.

I ordered some onion rings from a place nearby but they had been put in a styrofoam container and were all soggy when I got them home. I miss going to restaurants.

August 10 – Louisiana has 131,961 total cases with 4,169 deaths. Alabama had 99,390 cases with 1733 deaths.

Spent the morning at the rental place getting the plumbing fixed as well as the holes in the wall. We scheduled my maintenance guy, Ron, to come back on Wednesday to begin the outside work and finish the stuff inside, too.

Spent the rest of the day sweltering in my house with no a/c

August 11 – Louisiana has 133,125 cases with 4195 deaths.

My a/c guy was able to come by today. Added 4lbs of Freon as it was low but he couldn’t find a leak. He also installed the smart thermostat I got for free from Entergy. It had problems connecting so I’m using it in dumb mode for now.

I also watched Old Guard (Michelle signed up for a 30 day trial of Netflix). OMG! It was amazeballs! Charliez Theron killed people with a labyrs. Good story, good characterizations. I did wonder why they didn’t wear body armor – the flashbacks showed them in military uniforms through the ages, so I know they knew about them. They might not die without them but it could save some wear and tear. In any event, now to buy the graphic novel.

Charlotte is doing work on the garden area of her condo and came over to borrow my shovel and other tools.

August 12 – 5,115,000 cases in United states with 161,000 deaths

August 14 – Louisiana has 136,737 cases with 4,307 deaths

So I watched Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat with Samin Nosrat on Netflix and was entranced by the focaccia she did (https://www.saltfatacidheat.com/fat/ligurian-focaccia).

It being an eat-your-feelings kind of a day, I made it (I added rosemary because of course I did) and am really enjoying it. It looks really pretty, too.

August 15 – Louisiana had 137,918 cases with 4,384 deaths.

New Orleans had a runoff election today. I slept in a bit and got to the polling place at 8, an hour after voting began and I was the second person in my precinct to vote. I checked the Secretary of State’s website after the election was called and saw that only 44 people in my precinct voted, that’s a turnout of only 9%!

August 16 – Louisiana had 138,485 cases with 4403 deaths.

Remember when we had a national day of mourning following the 9/11 attacks? The US in on track to pass 170,000 deaths this week and we’ve not had any nationwide grieving or reckoning about the losses we’ve suffered – neither the loss of life nor the losses to our economy.

I walked around the neighborhood and saw a couple of cats. They got me humming “Just the two of us,” to myself.

August 17 – Alabama has 104,595 cases with 1855 deaths.

Went and got boxes and tape from the NOLA Box Company today.

Did a test run of Saturday’s Census Zoom meeting with two of the presenters.

LA Supreme Court has denied the application for writs! Leslie Ellison challenged JC Romero’s right to stand for election for OPSB D4. For those keeping score, she lost at the trial court, the court of appeals, the LA Supreme Court. Next loss – the ballot box.

August 18 – Louisiana has 139,125 cases with 4431 deaths.

Went to FedEx/Kinkos to print labels and then to Baton Rouge where I boxed up all the books. It took 27 boxes to pull down the inventory and almost 5 hours to get it done.

Today is the 100th anniversary of a woman’s right to vote and in a major dick move, Trump pardoned Susan B Anthony for voting illegally. Considering how furious she was because someone paid her fine (as she wanted to take the case to the Supreme Court), I can just imagine how pissed off she would be.

Joe Biden was officially nominated for President at the Democratic national convention.

August 19 – Louisiana has the highest number of cases (139,903) and the fifth highest number of deaths per 100000 residents (total deaths 4591)

A bit sore today. Plus lots of bruises from shifting boxes and not a few paper cuts.

My friend, Charlotte, came over and we talked current NOW politics and how women are sometimes our own worst enemies. We pick and criticize and fight with our friends and allies more than we defend each other from the other side. Yes, there must be critical thinking and people need to be held to account but we are running the risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I made sourdough olive breadsticks to enjoy while watching day 3 of the Democratic National Convention. Recipe HERE.

August 20 – US cases 5,541,341 with 170,837 deaths.

Two people died in Bengazi and the Republicans held hearings and made much ado about it to show the failure of leadership of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton. 170,000 people die and the craven cowards of the new GOP are praising Trump’s leadership.

I went and did the pulldown of the Barbara’s Books at Lakeside. It was a little harder as the books were on two floors there but 30 boxes of books were collected and labeled and I’m now out of work.

I got a chip in my windshield on the drive to Baton Rouge on Tuesday and so I’ve made an appointment for 8:30 tomorrow to get it fixed. What was I thinking?

August 21 – Alabama has 107,483 cases with 1905 deaths. Louisiana has 141,720 cases with 4,546 deaths.

Was at Safellite to get the windshield repaired very early. Their wifi was out so it wasn’t as productive time as I had hoped but it took only an hour, so it wasn’t too bad.

August 22 – Louisiana has 142,943 confirmed cases with 4605 deaths.

I made Greek power bars – a mix of toasted sesame seeds and honey. Pasteli are delicious and addictive. Recipe HERE.

August 23 – 173,474 deaths in the United States with 5,670,891 cases.

Ahead of landfall of Tropical Storm Laura and Hurricane Marco, I loaded up my car and headed over to Foley. Before I left, I told my neighbors they could park in my driveway if the waters rise. I mainly left because two storms so close together will overstrain New Orleans infrastructure. I think my house will come out fine but I worry about floodwaters.

I drove to Michelle’s house first to drop off a box and a cooler of goodies – part of a smoked brisket, frozen fruit, soup and more green tea. I also brought her two 20 lb bags of ice for her outside freezer, in case she loses power. We hugged twice and I got a case of tomato sauce and some butter before I got back on the road.

My parents had already had an inch of rain when I arrived, with another half inch falling by nightfall. Right at dusk, a small doe wandered through their backyard. I was only able to take a picture through the screen.

August 24 – 5,707,629 confirmed cases with 173,914 deaths

Went to fill up my parent’s car with gas and make a grocery run before the storm hit. It was only sprinkling and there weren’t that many people in the grocery store but everyone was wearing a mask.

I dealt with a few issues for the IWO and FFE PAC endorsement meetings over the course of the day, so I missed getting a nap.

Marco was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm and barely skipped over the Louisiana coast. Not much rain here or in New Orleans, although Laura looks to be more dangerous. The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore is in New Orleans and that is reason enough to find myself somewhere else. (see the commercial here – https://youtu.be/48r4IQTB3NE )

August 25 –Louisiana has 144,116 cases with 4,656 deaths.

On Monday, August 24th the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed technical language on its website on who should get a COVID-19 test. Previous recommendations called for testing all close case contacts. The decision to change the wording was made not by the CDC, but by top government officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

August 26 – Louisiana has 144,960 cases with 4,688 deaths. Alabama has 112,126 with 1965 deaths.

Had a call with the Forum Executive team about the school board race. There is a notorious homophobe in District 4 of the OPSB (she is opposed to having schools have non-discrimination statements that include sexual orientation and gender identity for religious reasons. She is also opposed to age appropriate sex education in schools). There is also an LGBTQ candidate in the race.

Did leftover chicken for lunch with a lovely lemon sauce I created. Recipe HERE.

Headed to bed with Hurricane Laura expected to make landfall around midnight near Lake Charles, Louisiana. I’m keeping all those in the storm’s path in my thoughts.

August 27 – Alabama has 112,794 cases with 1990 deaths. Louisiana has 145,637 cases with 4711 deaths.

Woke up to the info that Hurricane Laura was still a hurricane after being ashore for more than six hours. It was around Ft. Polk, Louisiana and was still a major storm. Most storms drop quickly from hurricane status once they are on land, to be 200 miles from landfall shows just how big it is.

Went to the grocery stores to get supplies laid in for my folks ahead of me heading back to New Orleans on Monday.

Saw a couple of deer wandering through the backyard. They were as interested in me as I was of them.

August 28 – Louisiana has 146,243 cases with 4741 deaths.

Made a pizza crust today with my sourdough starter. Recipe HERE.

My sister and her husband came over for happy hour. I was able to get Kathy to cut my hair.

August 29 – Louisiana is at 146,867 cases with 4931 deaths. Alabama has 82,676 cases with 2441 deaths.

Went to the Coastal Alabama Farmers Market this morning and had quite the haul of muscadines, scuppernongs and green peanuts which I boiled up. Boiled peanut recipe HERE. My parents prefer theirs spicy, so I added an extra ½ cup of powdered crab boil to the pot.

Grilled chicken for lunch using a garlic buttermilk soak. Recipe HERE.

Mom and I (with Dad laying in the final piece) finished the bacon puzzle.

August 30 – US confirmed cases 5,962,328 with 179,000 deaths

I had bought a 5 lb bag of russet potatoes, so I made them all into twice baked potatoes that I was able to freeze to take a portion home and leave a portion with my Mom and Dad for later meals. For lunch, I took some of the twice baked potatoes and added a spinach salad before grilling a couple of ribeye steaks. The recipe for the Wilted Spinach Salad is HERE.

There is a extremist criticism of the CDC stating that only around 96,000 of the deaths from coronavirus were solely caused by it. The rest of the 175,000 happened in people with co-morbidities who had 2 or more other illnesses/diseases before succumbing. They are using this to say the virus is a hoax. It is not – all those folks in assisted living, nursing homes, etc would not now be dead except for COVID-19 exasperating their conditions. My friend Robert, who was in the hospital with an infection and was on the road to recovery, would still be alive had he not gotten the coronavirus. The truth is that it is rarely a single cause of death (even for the flu) and this virus should not be dismissed.

August 31 -US has 5,999,125 cases with 180,317 deaths.

Headed back to New Orleans in the morning. The contractors are going to start working on the rental place tomorrow and I need to get prepared and get money for the yard guy, too.

Lots of rain in bands on the drive across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana with far too few people turning their lights on when running their wipers. It makes it difficult to see the back side of the vehicle.

The gas I bought in Slidell at $1.65 had been $1.95 in Foley. When I reached New Orleans, it was $1.77. It is hard to understand the wide variance except as people taking advantage of the storm scares.