Situation summary: Across much of the world over the past month there has been a drop of new Covid-19 cases. Vaccines are proving effective and rapidly scaling, bending the curve in many areas. This is a fragile dawn, however, with transmission and deaths still high, unequal access to vaccines and new variants of the virus threatening to undo all our progress.

March 1 – As of today, Louisiana has administered 1,000,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The total number of cases reported to the state is 430,504. The current total death count is 9,628.

Had three FFE PAC interviews today with candidates for 2nd and 5th Congressional district and LA State House 82.

March 2

Had 4 FFE PAC interviews.

IWO board meeting tonight

March 3

Had 2 FFE PAC interviews

March 4

Had 4 FFE PAC interviews followed by a PAC board meeting and a New Orleans endorsement meeting. We gave an endorsement to Troy Carter for 2nd, will wait for the runoff in the 5th and endorsed an LGTBQ candidate for 82.

March 5 – Nearly 2500 people died from COVID today

Went grocery shopping for my parents as I’m heading home for a week.

March 6

Drove from Foley, AL to Seminary, MS. Took Michelle out grocery shopping and she bought me Chinese for dinner.

March 7 – US has 28,956,440 cases with 2,590,159 deaths

Made pancakes for breakfast. While I was cleaning up afterwards, I watched her neighbor’s cat try to entice the large bullfrog that lives in her pool to come over for a visit. The frog was not convinced.

Took Michelle shopping for more stuff. We went when everyone was a church and the stores were empty and easy to get in and out. We used her grandfather’s meat slicer that I had used phopho and lots of elbow grease to remove the rust and some engine lubricant to get the motor running. I sliced an 12 lb turkey breast and then bagged it for sandwiches. We had steak for dinner.

March 8

Drove to New Orleans, stopping to early vote at the Voting Machine Warehouse on Chef Menteur Highway on my way into town.

March 9 – On this day, one year ago, Louisiana had its first positive Covid-19 case. Since then, Louisiana has had 9,758 deaths with 434,289 cases. Most hopefully: 1,220,563 vaccine doses have been given as per yesterday.

I ran a few errands, including getting money for the yard guy. I also rearranged the study area to put down a rug. 

March 10

Yardwork day as I haven’t been home much – had to cut down dead ginger and lop off dead branches, sweep and rake and weed.

March 11 – one year ago today the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. A year later, almost 30 million have been infected with the novel coronavirus, and we have lost more than 530,000 of us to Covid-19.

Put the rug that had been in the library/study area in guest room. I thought I’d save myself work and pick up the bed over the run but that was a pain in a half. With lots of cursing, I finally got it down so that room will hopefully not be as cold in the winter.

March 12

Drove to my folks with a beef chuck roast I grilled to make debris po’boy sandwiches. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2021/03/13/grilled-debris-poboy/

March 13

IWO legislative event via zoom. There were a few glitches to begin with so I wrote up a memo off the basic that Lynda had crafted. Hopefully, it will help avoid the such issues in the future.

March 14

Made a cherry pie for pi day. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2021/03/14/cherry-pie-for-pi-day/

March 15 – Louisiana has 437,565 cases with the current total death count is 9,903.

March 16

Before bed, we put the corned beef brisket in the slow cooker for it to go overnight and for us to have great sandwiches for St. Patrick’s Day.

March 20

Used some to the brisket I had smoked to make a beef stroganoff. Recipe here – https://mouthbrothels.wordpress.com/2021/03/21/leftover-brisket-beef-stroganoff/

March 22 – The total number of cases reported to the state of Louisiana is 441,066 with a death count of 10,030.

I worked with the Board of IWO to come up with a statement about the attack on the AAPI women and community.

March 23

Went grocery shopping and then to Walmart for some organizational items for the laundry room. There are just shelves instead of cabinets there and we need to keep things available but findable. Found several different styles of bins.

March 24

Received the boxes for Dad’s bookcases. They’ve hired someone to put them together so they should be ready to be filled once I get back from New Orleans.

March 25

A group of research papers released at a Brookings Institution conference this week state U.S. COVID-19 fatalities could have stayed under 300,000, versus a death toll of 540,000 and rising, if by last May the country had adopted widespread mask, social distancing, and testing protocols while awaiting a vaccine.

Drove back to New Orleans. It was supposed to be stormy all day but I never even flicked on the windshield wipers.

March 26

Went to the rental place to figure out what I need to do to fix the problems. Then spent hours driving around looking for the items (who knew a refrigerator gasket was such a tough find).

Came home to find that my stimulus check had arrived. Thank goodness – I will deposit it and be able to easily pay off all my bills this month.

Dad put the last piece in the puzzle I’d been working on for a while. It was a fun one I had gotten in trade. I’m so glad I have friends with such good taste in jigsaw puzzles.

March 28 – US has 30,258,812 cases with 549,306 deaths. Globally, there are 127,085,979 cases with 2,782,944 deaths.

Charlotte and Thomas came over for lunch. Served them debris po-boys and we had a great conversation as we ate and then after as their laundry ran through the washer.

March 29

Got my first vaccine shot today. Such a relief. The convention center was set up well with marked parking, spaces to keep people distanced and a smooth running operation once inside. I had preregistered and filled out all my paperwork, including uploading my drivers license and insurance cards so I was taken right to get my shot. Thanks, LCMC!

Ran a number of errands including getting the fridge gasket and other items for the rental place. Installed the gasket and mailed two of the special Drew Brees inserts from Sunday’s Times Picayune to Brian.

When I got home, I used the loppers to cut down the dead branches of several trees in my back yard and planted two of the camilla’s I brought from my parent’s old house.

Today Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd began in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. Floyd was held under the knee of police officer Chauvin for 9-minute 29-seconds. The trial is expected to take about a month.

March 30 – the average number of new cases of Covid-19 per day is increasing even as states are administering vaccines at a pace that seems likely to have the United States at 200 million vaccines in arms by April 20, President Biden’s hundredth day in office. In the United States, more than 30 million have been infected since the pandemic began. And 549,892 of us have died.

Drove back to Foley and stopped by a local Chinese restaurant to pick up lunch. I was waiting with 3 other people for the doors to open. One man and I were wearing masks. The other woman said to the other man, “I’m happy to see that not everyone is a sheep.” They began to mock mask wearing and even discussed that the 6 foot distance was because that was what the government’s GPS needed to individually ID us. The woman then went on a rant that 2000 people (?!) have signed an online petition to get the governor of Alabama to reinstate the mask mandate that expires on April 9th. The other man wearing a mask said, in a world weary voice, “It was to protect us all.” The woman jerked her thumb at him and said, “My husband – a sheep.” 

I stayed well away from them and placed my order to go, thinking the whole time that it is people like that will make it harder to end the pandemic. The more of us who wear face coverings means the more places can reopen. Until vaccine rates reach herd immunity (ie at least 70% of the population) so that community spread of a disease stops because unprotected individuals are surrounded by a “herd” of people who are immune to infection, we will not have a handle on this disease.

To vaccinate 75% of the U.S. population, approximately 248 million people and nearly 500 million doses are needed. And it means we need to be vaccinating nearly 2 million people a day so all of them are immune by the fall of 2021. At the current pace of vaccinations, Reuters estimates it would take until April 2022 for 75% of Americans to receive at least their first vaccine dose.

Found out Winn Dixie is now offering Covid-19 vaccine shots at the Foley store. I was able to get mom scheduled for a Johnson and Johnson for next Tuesday.

March 31 – Global cases are 128,490,863 with 2,808,439 deaths. US has 30,417,211 cases and 551,503 deaths. Louisiana has had 444,933 cases with 10,141 deaths. Alabama has had 515,388 cases with 10,554 deaths. In vaccine news — 54,607,041 people in the US are fully vaccinated and 42,986,249 people are partially vaccinated. That is 16.4% of the population.

Went to Walmart with mom for laundry and bathroom organizing items. The shelves were pretty bare – who knows if the ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal is already affecting the supply chain in Foley, Alabama.

Emptied 2 boxes of silver (trays, bowls and my dad’s baby cups and spoons). I polished some of that and some of the brass and copper that I found in another box.

Addendum April 12, 2021.

From Governor John Bel Edwards: “In 2020, COVID was the third leading cause of death in Louisiana, behind heart disease and cancer. The flu has never come close to holding that spot. One of our worst seasons for flu deaths was when 1,550 people died. We’ve lost over six times that number from COVID.”

And every one of those lost was loved by someone. May their memory be a blessing.

This will be my final month of posting this journal. It was a good exercise for me while things were at their craziest but I’m finding I’m getting far too busy with work and the legislative session to keep up with it. Thanks to everyone for reading and for letting me know how you were surviving a year that will go down in infamy.