Our life in lockdown
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As many of you know, I'm Italian, and this means that I'm living in total lockdown mode due to the COVID-19 emergency. Since what happened to China first and Italy now could happen elsewhere, and in general since this pandemic affects everyone's life in a more or less preminent way, I thought about starting a journal to talk about how life in lockdown is, and to answer any questions users might have.

If you're wondering what lockdown means here, there's the list:

- all commercial activities are (about to) close, with the sole exceptions of pharmacies, supermarkets, computer shops and tobacco shops. Everyone else is forced home (days taken from their paid vacation time, or not being paid at all); those capable of smart working are welcome to do so
- schools, universities and similar are closed; lessons and lectures are given via internet
- public transportation is reduced in half. People are accepted on buses only from one of the three doors every bus have, to lower the risk of contagion of the bus driver
- people cannot leave their homes, unless under very special conditions (medical reasons; work emergencies; other emergencies): in this case you have to have with you a self-declaration stating the reasons why you're away from home. In case you're checked, and you don't have the self-declaration with you, you're fined (starting entring: 206 EUR) and sent back home

We also had some great services that were activated by various companies to go through the hard times (complete list for Italian readers can be found here. This includes extra / free internet for mobile networks; free subscriptions to magazines or newspapers; temporary free access to platforms enabling distance working; and many other services.




I'm adding here some useful links

- UNICEF official Coronavirus page: if you have to explain your children what's going on, and need some suggestions on how to do it, you may wanna check this page
- Worldometers page: if you wanna see how the pandemic is spreading over the globe, and keep an eye on some parameters, you can find a lot of information here
- When and how to use masks: World Health Org. official page with everything you need to know about usage of masks in the current days here (edit 03/22)
- Coronavirus and smoking: if you're a smoker and are wondering if your habits could make the virus situation worse, you can look at this article here on the subject (edit 03/23)
- Coronavirus and food: apparently, there's no evidence of the virus spreading through food (link) (edit 03/23)
- COVID-19 and vaccines: you can read where we are on the vaccines here




EDIT 03/20: Adding here a GL with some good suggestions for those who are new to working from home: How to work from home
EDIT 03/20: Yale released a free online class aimed at increasing our happiness: The Science of Well-Being
EDIT 03/23: I was asked to add, on behalf of the US citizens, the following: If you are in the US, please contact your governor, congress people, and the president to use of the Defense Production Act to force US companies to produce appropriate masks, gowns, and gloves.
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1. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:96]
Board Game: Pandemic
Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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March, 12, 2020

This is our first official day of total lockdown. It's scary, because it's unprecedented, and nobody knows the implications.

The city in the morning is a post-apocalyptic graveyard. Andrea goes to work through deserted streets, with just some sporadic cars passing by and curious roadworks still operative (??). He talks to his supervisor at the job to be allowed to work from home (technically he's alone in his room at the office, so, the only dangerous areas are the aisles and the common bathroom), but in the end, he is greenlighted to stay home until the emergency passes (and I'm very grateful for this).

During his lunch break he goes to the supermarket (only one person per family is allowed to) to shop both for us and his mother, and sees the impossible. People wearing masks, terrorized by the virus, looking around helpless. Drunks gathering to buy supplies as if nothing existed in the outside world BUT curiously talking of the virus. Sales assistants working despite the evident fever. People over-crowding a single aisle, shouting at each other because they were in danger and someone has to move away. One guy gets physical with one lady working on shelves, another one enters the supermarket with his dog, looking at his phone, unaware. There's no meat to buy, no flour, and no fresh cheese. But there's more veggies than ever, and more than enough enough of all the other supplies. But there's no toilet paper in sight, or hand sanitizer.

He returns home with the car filled, and then he directly starts working because he spent too much time on his lunch break. So, he has lunch over the keyboard doing numerical models of I-don't-know. At 6.10 PM he decided he had enough for the day, and the colleague he was working with said "so early? WHY?" (why what, what the fuck, he was at work at 8.30 AM, it's not like he just masturbated the whole day. I understand there's no movies to go to, but possibly doing something else than working should be contemplated), so, tomorrow he'll start earlier (working from home should be easier tho).

I spend the day learning how to bake soda bread and working ideas for a youtube channel about books (got 50 down easily, but apparently you need a stronger list to do it for reals, so, I need to work more on this).

The streets are filled with police controlling people, and with the army displayed, and it's not a pleasant sight. My sister in the UK (she's 24, and leaves alone) is batshit scared. I look out of the window, and I see the world silent. Few lights, no sounds. It's impressive how accustumed we are to "anthropic noise" and how terrifying can be a perpetual silence.

The dinner's almost ready (soup, grilled chicken breast, some extra veggies), in the night we have a wonderful game to proofread and hopefully a bit of LEGO time for A (a recent tech edit allowed for the new Millennium Falcon to land here) and a book or two for me. Tomorrow I know I'll have to go out to get the last supplies (drugs from the pharmacy and a few things to put in the freezer in case things go really south) then I hope I'll be able to stay home for at least 10 days.
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2. Board Game: Pandemic: On the Brink [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
Board Game: Pandemic: On the Brink
Julia
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March, 13, 2020

Andrea spends the whole day (8-18.30) working. In the morning I go get the last supplies. Queueing at the post office is the first novelty of the day. You're not allowed to queue inside for medical reasons. So, people stay in the streets, one meter and a half from each other. There's only 5 people tho, so I decide to wait. When it's my turn, I have issues reaching out the postal counter: there's a barricade in front of the counter, and my arms are too short to give the bills to pay to the lady in charge. In some way I manage. Then it's pharmacy time, and then it's supermarket for the last few things Andrea wasn't able to grab yesterday.

I go back home. Along the way, people avoid each other, moving from one side of the road to the other one to nix proximity. Almost everybody is wearing a mask, and protective gloves, virus can survive on surfaces for a few hours, so better have protection (or sanitize immediately when home, but hand sanitizer is nowhere to be found - apart from the internet, 80 EUR a bottle)

At 3 PM we get a phone call. It's our friend Mario, from Bologna. We met him last year in a book bargain affair (some of you will remember): back in October, we had a spoken agreement about getting from him some more books for our sci-fi collection "if and when" (in the future, if we had a certain monetary allowance because the collection is huge). We kept in touch, talking books and life, but never actually returning to selling / buying stuff again. Today he calls, and says he shipped us all the remaining books, and that, if and when, we'll pay him, one year or ten years from now or never. He just wants his books to be safe (and loved) to be at peace (he's 72 and tethraplegic). So, tomorrow or next week, we'll be receiving about 500 books to be stored nobody knows where (but they'll keep us company at night, the mind focused on images of alien worlds).

At 6 PM today the city has her first flash mob against the virus. Not in a square, not in a street: everybody from home opens a window, or the door of their terrace, and becomes visible under the sun's last ray. Then they take a spoon (wooden or metal), and start banging the spoon on a pan, or a lid, or any rigid surface they might have available. Slow at first, then when the drumroll starts being echoed from window to window, they go louder and louder. With no distinction of age or gender, a gigantic cacophony that spells ancient apothropaic rituals rise to fend off darkness. After five minutes, they all go back inside, but for a while, we conquered the world back, and the fear was gone.

At 7 PM, Andrea goes out to dispose the paper / cardboard / etc. It's full dark, no sound (again) until a certain moment: a window's open, and a guy is playing the mandolin for the audient void. The music goes down the streets, and makes everything suddently lighter. The music at some point stops, Andrea shouts from the street "thanks" and the guy answers "you're welcome". Then he starts playing again.

Chicken for dinner, then some more work on something fancy
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3. Board Game: Pandemic: Contagion [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1891]
Board Game: Pandemic: Contagion
Julia
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March, 14, 2020

A few things happened over the last days.

Burglary increased a lot. The police is controlling the streets for people breaking the curfew, and there's less attention (or, more likely, not enough men) on shops. Most curious episode is someone entered a toy shop and stole a 6-foot high plush teddy bear. The idea of the thief walking through the deserted city with a gigantic plush teddy bear kinda makes me smile for how surreal it is. I'm just sorry because the shop wasn't super-big and was family-run.

We hear of people scamming the elderly: they go door-to-door, pretending to be health care operators sent to check on elderly people and give them the test. It's very easy for them to gain the trust of the people they talk to, and after that, they clear out the apartment. Finally, a hidden lab in Neaples was shut down by the police: they were fishing people into paying 120 EUR each to get a test for coronavirus done.

Today we also had an official declaration from the director of the hospital in Bergamo (Lumbardy, where the pandemic is most violent), where it was declared that the hospital has no longer the means to guarantee immunity to the hospital workers. Specifically, they don't have any more surgical masks, filtering masks (both FFP2 and FFP3), glasses, protections for the body. It was also stated that all they need is in a truck blocked at the Turkish border.

Bergamo is almost broken in half. Eulogies on today's newspaper covered 11 pages, with five times the usual amount od departures. And this comes with the saddest fact that there's not enough space to store the bodies of the departed (not to mention giving them a proper burial). For this reasons, some churches were transformed into chambers to host the bodies.

Are people respecting the lockdown? Mostly yes. But yesterday we had 7K persons being reported for breaking the rules, and 329 shops were closed by force because they were operative nonetheless. Let's hope people understand that we really need to stop to have a containment in the infection rate.




We get a phone call from Cat in the morning. She was told to start stocking pasta because there'll be soon a serious shortage. We ask her (she works in a supermarket) whether they have planned less restocking for the coming week, but apparently there's no such a thing. Hence, possibly the shortage is just a rumor, but it's curious because it came from a friend who's also a doctor (who's usually very good at calming people). Anyway, we decide not to panic, and wait.

The rest of the day is spent working a bit on different projects (decluttering the last room of our house and keep organizing stuff in the basement) so that our mind is distracted from the marvellous spring day that blossomed around.

Today it's pi-day, so, I'm preparing a pie for dinner: zucchini, mushrooms, smoked scamorza on shortcrust pastry.
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4. Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:346]
Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure
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March, 15, 2020

We're 4 days into the lockdown. Considering the incubation time for the virus is 2 to 11 days, it's waaaay too early to see any benefit from the self-isolation. The disease is still spreading at a constant daily 17% to 20%. Total cases (that we know of) hit 24747 individuals. Tomorrow, if nothing changes (and nothing will), we're gonna pass 30K infected.

Among those, 1809 died, and 2335 were declared healed, meaning that the apparent death rate is 7.31% (note: it's not the actual death rate, we need a larger sample, there's too many cases in the balance, and it's too a swingy result for many reasons. Nonetheless, it's something to keep in mind).

If the tide doesn't change, we're passing 100K infected in 9 days (one million in 24 days), but that number would be unbearable. We're already too close to the point of no return. As of this morning, in the counties of Brescia and Bergamo, they had a total of 10 free beds in intensive care units available. This means that as of now, there's been people in need of a place in an ICU that have either been moved to a different county, or simply denied assistance. There's an emergency plan to convert a building at the Milano expo into a hospital, but obviously it can't be done overnight, and even if they manage, then there'll be need of equipment.

This is the most painful news of the day: we had published the numbers of protective masks that are needed to face the next month of infection: it's 90 millions of units. We had 20 millions on the way to Italy (already paid and on the way of being imported from abroad): most of these units were stopped along the way, either blocked in the production countries or in the countries they were travelling through to "satisfy the local needs". France and Germany helped, and there's a lot of ventilators (that would help people incapacitated at breathing) and of masks being flown in from China. Let's hope they arrive on time.

We also need blood for transfusions. Hospitals have made a dedicated lane for donors to guarantee them no contact with potentially infected people. And oxygen. And doctors and trained nurses. Currently they are working 14 days with 1 day pause, and then they start again, and the shifts often last more hours than the day. There' a touching report where a doctor tell they undress in couples to avoid errors due to the being extremely tired. I think everything can be condensed in this picture of Elena Pagliarini, a nurse who simply collapsed at some point during her 20-hour shift

Spoiler (click to reveal)
External image






The day was spent idly working in the morning (we have a deadline for a game tomorrow), with a sunny, windy day outside. One could say it's marvellous weather, but in this era, you can't avoid thinking that it could be actually a dangerous weather. Why? Because the virus (and this is one of the most disturbing discoveries made so far) is capable of surviving 3 hours in the air (source; scroll down to page 11 to see charts and the dataset). It's also resistant on surfaces: 24 hours on cardboard, up to 9 days on metals - so yes, doorknobs, buttons in the lift, ringbells: they can potentially all be virus carrier, so, it's normal aksing whether to stay out and enjoy the sun from the terrace or the garden, or bury ourselves home more until the wind goes. Turns out that the wind is not dangerous: the particles are disperded faster. We found a study released by a Chinese research group showing the correlation with climate and humidity: cold and dry is tied to a higher infection rate, whereas hot and humid means the disease should spread at a lower pace (not that it stays put).

We also noticed that after 4 days in lockdown, we are becoming more irritable. The solution was looking at some "quarantine workout" exercises on youtube. We did some 40 minutes of powerstep, and life returned to normal. Doing something phisical definitely helps.

I'm including here a few DIY tutorials for preparing some masks, in case someone needs one. Please keep in mind that these masks are not filtering masks or surgical masks, so, they offer a very minimal protection (but work great as a sort of Linus blanket and as an assessment for those who see you that you're aware of the situation)

I really love the first one because, well, having a Star Wars mask is pretty badass.

https://mesewcrazy.com/2015/10/star-wars-face-mask-pattern.h...

https://www.craftpassion.com/face-mask-sewing-pattern/

https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tuto...




The dinner's meatballs (experimental recipe without crumbled bread) and curry cauliflower. Then, some books, maybe a movie, and tomorrow a new week starts.
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5. Board Game: Pandemic: State of Emergency [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Board Game: Pandemic: State of Emergency
Julia
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March, 16, 2020

5th day of lockdown. We know the virus has an incubation time of 2 to 11 days (on average) peaking on 5. This means that the infection peak should be close, and then, hopefully, the pressure will go down a little.

Data just posted by the authorities (specifically, the Civil Protection forces) talk about 27980 total cases, of whom 2749 persons were declared healed, and alas 2158 persons are no longer with us. Nonetheless, the contagion rate is 13%, the lowest of the last three weeks, meaning that possibly something's going in the right direction. At the moment, we've been told that hopefully we'll be on the falling limb of the pandemic by the end of the week, but we need to mantain a responsible behaviour, and in any case they are talking of extending the lockdown period to far after April, 3rd, which was the date we were told life would have been back to normal.

As of yesterday night, our government issued a special maneuver with a lot of funds to both cover the sanitary emergency and to guarantee a sort of safety belt to workers forced a month home without salary (alas there's many in this condition): 50% of the salary should be at least guaranteed.

On the other hand... in the small city of Medicina (very curious how hystrionic fate is, considering that "Medicina" in my language means "medicine") they discovered a particularly aggressive and resilient mutation of the virus. The city was immediately completely isolated from the rest of the world. A host of nurses and doctors have been brought to Milano to help with the emergencies, but at the moment they have nowhere to stay: people refuse to rent to them because they can be virus carrier. I assume they will sleep in the hospitals. In the rest of Lumbardy, the situation is constantly worsening. Highways and transportations are completely shut down. If you want, here's a video of Milano's suburbs released by Reuters (to give you a way of comparison, imagine the suburbs of Chicago: Milano is slightly smaller, but the population density is way higher)

One eminent political figure in our country posted a video via his Facebook stating that this is all a farse, and telling people to go out and enjoy life. The video was taken down and the person will be persecuted, but apparently some damage was nonetheless done.

As of yesterday, the army was sent to disperse people walking in my city near the shore (abusing the "you can take a walk" right stated in the lockdown)




Our day was ok. Andrea had to work from home (very unhappy so far with the colleague who should be mentoring him: he's either treated as an idiot, or not provided with enough info to complete the assignments), I invested the day with some springtime cleaning.

Our friend Mario had to go to an ambulatory for a routine check tied to his condition: he was brought there at 6 AM, before everything started, to reduce to minimum the risk of contagion. We've got an email 4 hours ago, he's fine home resting. His books reached us early in the afternoon: all the 4 big boxes representing shipment one were brought to the basement and left there for a few days to clear out from a potential threat. Then we threw our clothes into the washing machine. This should be enough to guarantee prevention.

20 minutes of workout before this post, then a hot shower to end the day and hopefully The Fifth Element tonight on bluray.
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6. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 [Average Rating:8.62 Overall Rank:2]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Julia
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March, 17, 2020

Sixth day of lockdown, 159th anniversary of our nation. Our premier held a talk, saying that we always rise, after every fall. More help arrived from China (30 ventilators, 400.000 protective masks, 60.000 diagnostic kits, 5.500 full body protections, 6.700 protettive glasses). A big thank you. But not enough.

Today we passed the 30K infected mark. 31506, to be precise, that we know of. Overnight 345 more people departed, against only 192 people declared healed. The total body count is 2503, i.e. a 7.94% death rate. There's no more place in ICU in Bergamo, meaning that patients incapacitated at breathing are moved in the best ways possible to different provinces / counties, in the hope that at least there there's some room available. As for healing, as of yesterday we discovered it's now advised that even if you're declared healed, you respect, AFTER healing, a self-quarantine period of 14 days, to be sure the virus doesn't come back.

Here's another image that is emblematic of these troubled times: a healthcare operator breaking down due to not catching a break in eons

Spoiler (click to reveal)
External image


Two postal office operators died due to the virus. Now we're talking shutting down the postal service, or at least the services with a counter. This is problematic because bills (gas, electricity, phone) have not seen postponed their deadlines, and not everyone in the country is capable of paying the bills via internet and credit card. Banks closed their agencies as of yesterday. A bigger chunk of the army was deployed to protect the borders. A very notorious political figure in the country donated money of their own to help build the emergency hospital in Milano, then decided to announce the donation through his party to make their political force gain prominence. A guy went for a 30-km walk with his dog and was stopped by the police.

Even if we're not any longer on an exponential growth, we're still on the rising limb. The contagion peak, expected on March, 22, is now expected on March, 25. Why? Apparently because of internal migrations. Some people working in the North of Italy moved back to the South, bringing the disease with them. In any case, whether this is true or not, the original "red zones" should be closer to the peak than the rest of the nation. There's already talking of moving April, 3 (the date where life should have been returned to normal) to somewhere in the future.




We've heard more from Mario. Apparently the two nurses who took care of him yesterday didn't respect the protocol and interacted with him (I repeat, he's tethraplegic and breathes by miracle) without wearing a protective mask. He's home, scared as hell, praying to have dodged the bullet. If you have a minute to spare, please keep him in your toughts.

We've also hear from my sister. She says that England apparently is not taking the situation too seriously. If any reader here lives in England and could help me understanding the situation, I'd really be grateful. I've only found an article reporting a declaration by Johnson, but apparently pubs and schools are still open?

Our day was spent as usual. Andrea working, while I've spent some more time cleaning the house (it's never been so little messy). Then we spent some time in the garden, watering our primroses, and then working out for 40 minutes.

For dinner: roasted chicken, and post-punk potatoes.




The recipes (since someone asked):

For the chicken
1 kg chicken
1 spoon of salt
Spices (I use: rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram)
2 cloves of garlic
2 spoons of olive oil

Pre-heat the oven at 220 °C.
Prepare the mix of spices by blending them with the salt into a mixer
Pour 1 spoon of olive oil into your casserole
Use the other spoon of olive oil to anoint the chicken, rubbing the oil in every cavity, then cover the chicken with your spicy mix (DO NOT remove the skin from the chicken: it'll protect your chicken during the cooking)
Put the garlic in the chicken's tummy

Then the casserole with the chicken goes into the oven. It stays there for about an hour. After 30 minutes, lower the temp to 180 °C. During the whole period, every 10 minutes, use the oil in the casserole to wet the chicken so that the meat remains moist and flavorful

Post-punk potatoes
Slice the potatoes in thin slices (about 2 mm or so). Dress those as you like (I use salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and rosemary from my garden, but you can use any spices you want). Put them in the oven for 30-40 minutes at temp 180°C
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7. Board Game: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:362]
Board Game: Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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March, 18, 2020

Seventh day of lockdown. A morning report revealed how about 40% of people living in Milano are still moving in and out of their houses. As of today, we had more people fined / potentially taken to court than people infected by the virus. What's wrong with them, I really don't know. Today we reached 35713 infected (that we know of); of those 2978 passed (+475 from yesterday), and 4025 were declared healed. Important fact: Piedemont patient zero, declared healed some days ago, turned out positive again. Doctors says it's normal that there's a swinging period after the end of the disease, but recommend mantaining the quarantine for people healed.

Lumbardy is on her knees. The president of the region released a press conference where heavier words were used. He stated that "if people don't understand they have to stay at home, it means they are forcing us to make them stay home in a more aggressive way". I understand he's fully right, but this is really a dangerous line to walk.

8.3% of all health care operators have by now been infected by the virus, which means that our sanity system is suffering both from an external and an internal pressure. Masks are no longer available in some hospitals: doctors working there are fully exposed to the infection (there's pictures I could link, but for respect of these people, I won't).

In all of this, there's some good news: the US donated a camp hospital (similar to the MASH unit camps) capable of handling 69 people. France helped by donating 2 million masks and 20K body protections.

Overnight, the President of our Republic, Sergio Mattarella, signed a "heal the country" decree that should allow some respite to all of us. Extra money is guaranteed on the salary of those forced to stay at the workplace, funds to protect workers and employers have been found, and by law, employers won't be able to fire anyone for two months. I won't enter too much into the deets here, but as a citizen I finally feel that something's been done in a proper way for each and all of us.

If you wanna read some other insider, first-hand reflections, doctor Marco Pavesi, an anesthesiologist in Milano, released this interview for the New York Times. It's worth reading.




Our day was ok. I decided that I could very well use my time to send a signal that my shop isn't dead, so, I spent a few hours crafting a tutorial for preparing pin cushions at home (in some funny shapes), posted online, spent an hour on the phone with my boss. We don't want the activity to suffer, and if we need to restart, we need to start working now. Also, this makes the idea of returning to normal life closer.

Then, gardening.

Andrea spent the day working from home.

In the late afternoon we unpacked the book boxes Mario send us. It was about 52 kgs of old school sci-fi: Vonnegut and Van Vogt, McMaster-Bujold and McCaffrey, Vance, and Niven, and Pournelle, and Herbert (finally, the missing Dune volumes), and E.E.Doc Smith and Anderson, and most importantly, the whole Nova SF series. Nova SF was a series of anthologies (a sort of reader's digest) that was published in my country starting in 1969. It offered a 360° panorama on the sci-fi world featuring short stories and novellettes by many great authors of those years, most of them are out of print and impossible to find. So they are there, loved and protected and waiting to be read.

One day this will be over, and we'll finally be writing and publishing a book about the history of sci-fi in our country ("Pioneers of spice" tentative title; I'm open to suggestion)

Oriental chicken version 1 for dinner




2 onions
600 g of zucchini
400 g of chicken breast
salt and spices
broth

Mince che onions and throw them with a spoon of olive oil into your wok. While the onions start cooking, bring your vegetable broth to temperature and chop the zucchini: round slices 3mm thick, then cut them in 4 parts (so every part is a quarter of a circle). Add the chopped zucchini to the onions and slowly cook them with the broth. While these are cooking, chop the chicken. Small pieces. Spice the chicken (salt, pepper, a bit of curry in my case), add the chicken into the wok, keep cooking. As soon as you see that you're running low on liquids, add a bit of broth. Cook the chicken to perfection, then serve it.
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8. Board Game: Pandemic: Iberia [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:97]
Board Game: Pandemic: Iberia
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March, 19, 2020

Eigth day of lockdown. The news show us that numbers are worsening, as if in either the lockdown isn't working (due to people not respecting it) or simply health care isn't capable of stopping the disease anylonger. It's probably a mix of the two, as confirmed by a few Chinese doctors that helped during the outbreak in China and were flown it by night. They said they don't understand why there's so many people still on the streets, and why so many aren't wearing masks. They clearly stated that in these conditions is impossible to contain the pandemic, and today's numbers proved them right: we hit 41035 infected (that we know of), with a contagion rate of +14.9% (in the previous three days we were around a stable 13%). 3405 people died in total, making the human losses in Italy greater than those in China (talking absolute numbers, not relative frequency, which is even more impressive considering we have so many less inhabitants than China), for an apparent death rate of 8.30%. 4440 were declared healed.

This morning Dr Stefano Fagiuoli, director of the Medical Division at the Hospital "Papa Giovanni XXIII" in Bergamo released this call for help in the morning. It's in English, so, please, retweet / share / embed on your socials

If you're wondering if he's exagerating, please open the following spoiler tags:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
External image


Yes, it's the army. But they are not moving troops. They are moving bodies


At the moment, we're running out of everything: not only means to fight the virus (machinery, specific drugs, equipment), but we're also running out of doctors (there's casualties among them too) and of generic drugs for other treatments, specifically drugs used for anesthesia. The implications of this are catastrophic.

In the meantime, cases in my region almost doubled in 24 hours, meaning people don't understand a forking nothing about staying at home: 8 days in the lockdown, and we keep having new cases popping up like mushrooms after a rainy afternoon. Yesterday in Treviso the police stopped a rave on a roof.

The European Central Bank moved, and the economy recovered a little bit. DiMaio announced they signed an agreement with China for 100 millions of protective masks. Let's hope we have enough resources to lessen the blow a bit until they come here.




Our day. What we dreaded coming, it came. A message from Cat (she works in a big market) saying "hurry up get provisions because we're running out of everything": production slowed down, deliveries slowed down too, and people in supermarkets are cut in half, for various reasons. And of course another reason is that people hoarded too much. So, we did what we didn't want to do, and bought food for 2 to 3 weeks all at once. I feel ashamed, but really, there was almost nothing left on the shelves by noon. So while Andrea was working I went to the closest supermarket and brought home veggies, meat, and fresh products, whereas Cat shopped for us for all the rest for home-delivery tomorrow.

Needless to say, I paid a lot of attention, and needless to say, I'm running a (very) few lines of fever now and I have a bit of sore throat. Nothing I'd usually worry about (after all, I perspired like a pack of swines bringing home 15 kgs of food alone, and getting a slight cold afterwards it's inevitable), but these days it's something that makes me worry. I'll keep the body temp in check for the next 24 hours, and try to distract my mind from corona-talk until tomorrow (so, I won't post further on this list today to avoid spiraling. Thanks for understanding). Andrea gave me a hemp infuse that should calm me down a bit.

He worked the whole day, then enjoyd 40 minutes of powerstep. Now it's shower time and then we'll cook something. No clues about the dinner, so, apologies for not posting recipes.

Please stay all safe heart




EDIT: Fever's down, troath is better. Apparently, just a temporary accident. I'll keep checking the body temp for a few day, but it seems like it's been just a huge scare. Thank you everyone for the empathy shown heart
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9. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:33]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Julia
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March, 20, 2020

Ninth day of lockdown, 627 people died from yesterday 6 PM. It's 26 per hour, almost one person every 2 minutes. We also had 689 people healed, but the problem is that despite the high number of closed cases, the number of infected people keeps rising: +4670 from yesterday. The infection rate is in line with yesterday's: +14.6%.

The region Lumbardy asked and obtained a heavier deployment of the army, to intensify control and dissuade people from the idea of going out without a valid reason. They are considering shutting down entirely the public transports: too many people still use public transport to go to work. It's now up to the agencies / industries / offices finding a way to allow people to work from distance, or up to the workers to go there by car, but public transport is a no-go.

In many regions it's now forbidden to practice any outdoor sports, even the individual ones (which were so far allowed).

The MASH-style camp hospital in Cremona is now fully operative.

We're now talking to extend the closure of public places (including schools) at least until May. Why? Because we haven't peaked yet. And probably we won't be peaking next week either. Now the peak it's expected to be in 2 weeks from now. The infection is spreading strong in the center of the country now, with several new cases popping up in Marche, Abruzzo, Umbria.

The government issued a precedence order while testing people. By decree, health care operators and members of the police / the army have priority both in the testing queue and in the elaboration of results; the others will have to be tested afterwards.

Regions asked our central government to keep closed the supermarkets during the week-ends. Our premier denied such a permission because the higher the number of opening hours, the less crowded supermarkets should be. And I say "should" because there's people going every second day to the supermarket because it's open and it's legal to go there. On the same wavelength should be the 40 people who resulted positive after a "Carnival fest for elderly" in the municipality of Fondi, Lazio (near Rome). (would you think that people would get it by now? yeah, right)

EDIT: Youtube and Netflix were asked by the EU to lower their HD frequencies.




Our day. A friend of mine got sick. She is a nurse in a hospital in the "hot zone" and despite she being super-careful on everything, she was exposed and got infected. It's not a violent form, so, she's in self-isolation and tries to keep everything in check. She's positive she'll make it through.

The rest of the food bought yesterday arrived via home delivery. The guy delivering it wore no mask nor gloves. Andrea put everything in the basement as quarantine procedure, then went back home and disinfected every single inch of his body (while on a call for work. It was pretty hilarious).

I spent the day cooking, portioning, and freezing food. Andrea kept working until 6 pm. Then some gardening.

Over the lunch break, we started watching the extra footage for The Fifth Element. The short documentary we saw was rather well done, explaining the genesis of the visuals for the movie, and the collaboration among Besson and Moebius and Mézières (and the attentive watcher will clearly see their signature lines in many scenes of the movie). A fun break.

For dinner: veggie soup and skewers.




EDIT: we need something funny. Here's a pic of the crafty project I did a couple of days ago for my shop. It's based on the cap of a bottle (the basis for stability).

Spoiler tag for theatrical effect

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Scarlet Witch


Here's the tutorial if you wanna do your own

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of Scarlet Witch
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10. Board Game: Pandemic: Rising Tide [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:721]
Board Game: Pandemic: Rising Tide
Julia
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We have dragged Reason from her Throne and set in her place the Empress of Dreams [liber Endvra]
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March, 21, 2020

10th day of lockdown. Today we had the following graph released:

External image


The red curve represent the distribution of the active cases. As you can see, the peak is now expected to be in two weeks from now (so, further and further down the line). By the end of April, we should be back to the situation we're currently at in terms of people affected. By the end of April, the body count is expected to be 40K, against a total of 175K people considered healed. Scientists have also clearly stated that this isn't the end of it: the fact that we could peak and then improve is only tied to the special measurements taken by the government, and not because the disease has run its course in our country. It means that if we lower our guard, we could have another peak, and so on.

Today's numbers are slightly lower in % when compared to yesterday's: the contagion rate is back to 13.9%, the lowest of the last four days. In any case, we have 53578 positives, with 4825 casualties and 6072 people healed. The balance is still negative: if we sum the closed cases and we subtract this total from the new cases, we still score +4821 cases, meaning the pressure on the healthcare system is increasing.

As of today, dr Maria Rita Gismondo (lead virologist, diagnostic and responsible for the clinic microbiology ward of the Sacco hospital in Milano) released an interview saying she's sorry "to have compared this a month ago to a slightly more aggressive flue". She continued, saying "We're living in a world we didn't know anything about. What we were not worried about before, as it wasn't worrying many, including the World Health Care organization, is a major threat"

In Aosta, doctors have no waterproof gowns to protect their bodies from exposition. They are now using plastic garbage bags with holes for their hands in order to not discontinue the service.

A doctor in Lombardia posted a (really shocking) video in which he showed the new "protective masks", which arrived, but aren't protective at all. In his very bitter words, he basically said: "I want to thank the person who thought shipping these was the solution, because you're signing our death sentence. I won't stop taking care of people because I cannot defend myself, but I know that in these conditions, I won't be able to do it for much longer. I'm not gonna wear this mask to give the person who shipped an opportunity to say they did something for me; I'd rather go without mask, I'll get sick anyway. These masks are good only for wiping asses"

Mayors of all municipalities surrounding Bergamo asked the Government the complete stop of any and all human activities besides hospitals because they cannot stop in any way the disease, nor the trend, and they cannot keep up with these numbers. In the morning, a new line of army trucks brought out of Bergamo a new series of coffins.

Those who want to see what it is being in the first line, can watch this video here (warning:: it's both terrifying and heartbreaking, watch only if you know you can resist. But there's people still not getting the importance of what we're going through, so, possibly, these images could help change their mind).

A new decree from the government shut down all activities for the next 5 days. This includes more or less everything unless case of extreme needs. It's vital because until yesterday morning our cities were like this picture here:

External image


Wondering how people can think a pandemic can be stopped with this type of behaviour.

On the good news front, Michelin-star awarded chef Cracco and other cooks are now volunteering their time to prepare lunches for people working at building the new hospital in Milano and for healthcare operators in the city.




It's 10 days we're shut in, and it's getting a bit on our minds. So, we looked at something different to do for the day, and we decided to invest the afternoon in playing a game. Arkham Horror was the game of choice, and we spent three hours kicking Glaaki's + Dagon's butt. We thought we might have been a bit rusty after playing only once over the last 20 months, but actually we're still there. We controlled the board, analyzed the game thoroughly, and scored a resonant victory without any of the bad guys being able to do anything.

And I finished reading "A Case of Conscience", by James Blish. The first part of the book is spectacular (Strindberg-like camera drama), the second part is evident that was a later add-on, but overall it comes with so much to think and reflect upon, from the fear capable of controlling masses to the idea that life is nothing but a resource, this book - which is 62 years old - is still intriguing.

Dinner: veggie soup and frittata with Tropea onions
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11. Board Game: Pandemic: Fall of Rome [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:370]
Board Game: Pandemic: Fall of Rome
Julia
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March, 22, 2020

11th day of lockdown. The infection rate started dropping: today it stops at +10.4%, the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic. When we started the lockdown, infection rate was at +23.6%. For the first time in the last 4 days, the number of new cases was below 4K: 3957 to be precise. Current death rate is 9.26%: the highest so far, meaning probably that not everyone in need of intense care is getting what needed. Total cases hit 59,138, meaning that one italian every 1K has been hit by the virus.

More restrictive norms were asked for, and as of tomorrow they should be enforced. All industrial activities (except those destined to produce first necessity needs such as food and drugs) are shut down until April, 3rd. Same for all offices. Same for everything. We enter into a full-paralysis mode. We're also shutting down inter-municipality transports unless for cases of emergencies.

7973 doctors and nurses answered the call to come help in Lumbardy so that the need for 300 was finally satisfied.

Special commissioner Arcuri granted personally that by tomorrow every doctor will be getting proper equipment, and starting next week every citizen will be getting a protection kit which should include a mask for each of us.

All of this is being strumentalized by different political parties, whose leaders decided it was a great moment to show dissent with the current government. This sentence written by Saramago in Blindness comes to mind: "They kept walking. After a while, the doctor's wife said, There's more bodies than usual along the road, That's because our resistance fades out, the time comes to an end, the water runs out, the diseases spread, the food becomes poison, you told me that yourself, remembered her the doctor, Who knows whether among these bodies my parents lie, said the girl with the dark glasses, and I walk by them, and I cannot see them, It's an old habit of mankind, passing by the deads and not seeing them, said the doctor's wife. I don't care what flag they side for, I don't care left or right, but please don't walk by the bodies and run your agenda. This is a time where we should all be united: our markets are in troubled waters, and having a political crisis won't help fighting the virus, won't help save our savings, won't help moving on as fast as possible.

In the meantime, the virus entered our prisons, and the situation there is getting tenser and tenser. We had some clashes between convicts and police in the past few weeks, but apparently things are becoming harsher.

In all this madness, there's many ingenious acts of generosity that stand out. Librarians in Bergamo, now that the public libraries have been closed down, started posting videos of them reading fables for children on facebook. A notorious italian noir writer, Donato Carrisi, started a podcast where every evening he reads one chapter from his first book, saying that "we have 34 chapters in front of us: the lockdown will end before I finish reading the book". Life is slowly adjusting to new rythms.




Our day was spent in idleness. We decluttered a bit home, we re-organized flour, jams and prepared a bit of a survival pantry in the basement. Then lunch, and a few games of Kingdom Builder. We kissed for the first time in two weeks. We both know that living together means very well that whatever one has, the other one has too, but for some reasons (probably simply because this invisible enemy creeps inside your mind) we always kept distance until today. Bringing some more "human warmth" to the table helped reclaiming, at least inside our home, our sacred spaces.

We finally heard from Mario: he's fine atm, reading books and avoiding contact with the outside world as much as possible. He'll have the next check in 40 days, but possibly by then Bologna will be a safer place.

Cat told us that in her supermarket, they installed 2-meter plexiglass protections for the cashiers so that they are sure people don't accidentally spit on them. This is very important also in the light of some events happened nine days ago (don't remember where, but I can check): basically, a cashier in a supermarket asked a lady to step back and respect the safe distance. The lady mocked the cashier and coughed on her on purpose. The lady was positive, but the cashier was not; turns out the cashier ended up positive, and the supermarket had to be shut down. New protections should at least allow cashiers to work with a minimal more serenity.

For dinner, piadina




Piadina romagnola

Ingredients for 4-5 people:

- flour "00", 600 grams
- salt, 10 grams
- olive oil, 40 grams
- water, one glass and a half

Mix the ingredients together slowly (also keep in mind that the amount of water might differ according to air humidity, type of flour, and so on); in the end you wanna have a dough that is homogeneous, elastic, and slightly softer than a pizza dough.
At this point you take a bit of dough and you use a rolling pin to make an even spread (suggested thickness: 2 mm). Cook the "piadina" in a hot pan, a couple of minutes per side. At this point you're free to fill the piadina with whatever you want; once they are all ready, pass them 5 minutes in the oven or on a grill to have the cheese melt or the prosciutto heat up properly.
Enjoy while hot

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12. Board Game: Pandemic: Rapid Response [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1912]
Board Game: Pandemic: Rapid Response
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March, 23, 2020

12th day of lockdown. Numbers are slightly improving over yesterday. We're still on the rising limb, but we're flattening the curve a bit. Hopefully it's a good sign for the peak to be close. The contagion rate hit +8.1%, the slowest since the beginning of the epidemic. A total of 3780 new cases were identified. 601 more people died in the last 24 hours, against +408 healed. The current death rate is 9.51%.

We had a lot of important data officially released

External image


(full pdf here, so you can enlarge as you please)

The most interesting data are in the bottom left table, where the mortality rate per age is shown, and the top right chart, showing how the positivity spreads over the various case studies: 6% of the positives showed no symptoms at all, 10.7% showed minimal symptoms, 16.5% showed some symptoms but weren't able to define them.

Feel free to ask in the comments if you want more specifics / translations on the data, and I'll update this entry accordingly.

The latest government decree was approved overnight, even if it was changed in its form, probably due to some pressure from the industry world. In any case the "absolute total complete shutdown" will allow to more industries than originally thought of to be active. The consequence is that unions went on war and declared a general strike affecting exposed categories in two days, meaning that we could very well go into the absolute shutdown nonetheless. The governor of Lumbardy wants more restrictive measures to be effected, and asked the government whether to follow the government protocol (which is looser) or the regional protocol (which is stricter, but also shouldn't be capable of trumping anything the government decides).

We're also talking about deploying an investigation method similar to the one used in South Korea: tracking the positions of the phones of affected people to isolate those among their contacts who might have been affected. They are also talking about an app allowing in real time to identify the routes walked by affected people so that one could find an alternate route. There's a lot of polemics around this - obviously - because this is considered to be a sever privacy violation. Not so sure what will follow.

But in any case, the markets opened with a -3.7%, as it was forseeable.

Some more news: special funds to help fighitng the epidemic scored 25.5 million euro donated by my fellow citizens. A great answer in time of crisis. Germany accepted two cases from Italy, showing once more international solidariety and how we're all on the same boat here, and we need to fight together.




Our day. In the morning my boss called me, since she finally had an official answer about our situation. We can all apply for what we call "cassa integrazione", which is basically a monetary aid coming from the State which plays as substitute for our employed in paying salaries. So, even if we're closed down for a month, I'll still have my paycheck (well, 80% of it, but still), and they won't cut me short my vacation days. It's something really great. By law, employers cannot fire anyone for two months, and the State pays for them to avoid ruining commercial activities and families.

I spent the rest of the day cooking while Andrea was (as usual) working from 8 AM to 6 PM. Cooking what? Well, today I turn 34, and by no reason on the planet I wanna renounce at having a proper birthday dinner. So I first cooked a lemon-scented sponge, to cut in three discs and fill with apricot jam. Topping is made with lemon merengue.

After preparing the sponge, I prepared the dough for the pizza. Andrea can't have any yeast, so, I prepared two different doughs, one with yeast, and one without, so that we should have the both of us covered.

In 30 minutes I'll start baking, and then we'll spend the evening with a small family party, watching Solo (so that we're finally caught up with the SW saga)
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13. Board Game: Pandemic: Promo Roles [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.06 Unranked]
Board Game: Pandemic: Promo Roles
Julia
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March, 24, 2020

13th day of lockdown. Contagion rate is in line with yesterday's: +8.2% (yesterday's was 8.1%), bringing the total of people affected since the beginning of the emergency to 69176. It's been the day where we scored the second highest number of deaths: +743, vs +894 healed. Current mortality rate is 9.86%.

The contagion is hitting harder new regions, especially in the center / the south of Italy, with Puglia and Campania scoring a lot higher than a few days ago. This could be due to the virus reaching the areas where the extensive agricolture is practiced. There, we have a lot of barracks where workers live. Those barracks sadly are waaaay below what should be considered "fair treatment" for any worker, rarely provided with drinkable water, and where people live too close to each other (often a barrack hosts several workers at the same time). Field workers are going on strike in the next days.

Sicily attempted self-isolation, but nonetheless they've got a massive outburst in Villafrati, near Palermo.

The government is pushing on controls. Today we should have approved a new norm according to which transgressor won't be fined 206 EUR like now anymore: they will be fined up to 2000 EUR instead in case of violation of the self-isolation / quarantine, AND they'll have their car towed. The ENAC ("Civil Aviation National Organization") was greenlighted to use drone flights to spy on the movement of citizens.

Our markets reacted properly to yesterday's news, and scored a positive opening. There's hope the trend remains for a while, to allow our economy to respite a little.

Testing is getting difficult. Not because of the testing procedure, but because there's not enough labs to process the data in a timely manner. For this reason, priorities are given, but many in need for a test, aren't getting any, even if they have been in direct contact with a positive case (source: a friend of us working in a hospital. They are sending people home)

Near Rome, an elderly man (69 y.o.) was working on his vines when he saw a car trying to find alternative routes to exit the city without passing through the police blocks. The man explained there was no way out, and the guy dismounted the car and started insulting the man (recorded on a phone call the man was having with his son). The man was later found dead, the head broken by a club.




Our day was fine. Andrea spent the day working (no news here), and I spent the day cleaning the house (I'm uber-messy, but cleaning gives me peace these days).

Cat's mom is showing all the symptoms of the virus. She asked her doctor, and the doctor decided it's only stress and there's no need to be tested (see above for the reasons). Needless to say, Cat's mom lives in Belluno, which is a 3-hour drive from here, so, there's no way Cat can go. So far, she's showing weak symptoms, some line of fever, cough, but nothing extreme or that could lead to think she'll be needing hospitalization.

Yesterday we tried watching Solo, but Andrea fell asleep on the movie. We decided to rather play a game, and we picked Fury of Dracula (Second Edition). This has always been a game very important for us: back in the day, for our first anniversary (thus, 2007), I went to buy that game for A, but didn't find it anylonger at our FLGS: turns out he bought that only remaining copy. It's the only FFG game we have in Italian: we always wanted the original, but never found it for a reasonable price. Yesterday, while playing, we looked at the GeekMarket and bingpot, it was there. 20 pounds + shipping

For dinner: vegetarian quiche (shortcrust pastry, a thin layer of ricotta, then carrots and zucchini).

But since yesterday someone asked the recipe for pizza, here we go meeple




Ingredients:
- 1kg "00" flour
- water
- brewer’s yeast
- passata
- salt
- olive oil
- mozzarella
- oregano (optional)
- things you’d love to put on your pizza.

How to:
Take the yeast and add some tiepid water and mix it together.
Then add some flour and some water. Mix it together and knead it and add some flour and some water until you’re used all your flour. Keep kneading it and if it needs add more water.
You need to have, at the end, a very smooth and soft dough.
Put it in a large bowl, cover it with a wet towel and let it rise until it doubles its size (could easily be 3 or 4 hours).

Pour some flower on your isle / preferred surface. Take some dough and roll it on the flour, then take the rolling pin and start spreading and stretching the dough. Pizza can be spread up to very thin, but remember that it can't be too thin because otherwise it'll break when you move it to the baking pan.
Put some olive oil and spread it on each baking pan you're gonnna use. Put your now-thin-dough on the baking pan.
Spread the pizza with some tomato passata ("red pizzas"; skip the tomato for the "white pizzas", see below), add a minimal salt, then add your preferred toppings (some ideas. White pizzas: nuts and gorgonzola; brie and zucchini; shrimps and row ham; Red pizzas: different cheeses; tunafish and onions; sausage and potatoes).

Pizza is to be cooked for around 15-20 minutes in a static oven at 220°C, possibly moving it from the middle shelf to bottom shelf to the top shelf depending on its cooking point. However, this might vary a ton from oven to oven, so my suggestion here would be keeping an eye on it and taste at some point, until you're sure of the config.

Some suggestions:
- if you want an egg on your pizza, add it close to the end of the baking time: in this way, when you cut through the egg, the yolk will flow (really good if you use ricotta among your toppings)
- don't add ham right off the batt, but halfway through the cooking: otherwise it'll dry out and lose flavor
- don't be afraid to experiment combos
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14. Board Game: Pandemic: Survival Promos – Crisis Mitigator/Relocation Specialist [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked]
Board Game: Pandemic: Survival Promos – Crisis Mitigator/Relocation Specialist
Julia
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March, 25, 2020

14th day of lockdown. Contagion rate dropped another half point: +7.8% (yesterday's was 8.2%). Still on the rising limb of the curve: +3491 cases from yesterday, +683 bodies, +1036 healed. Current death rate is 10.9%

Let's look at some data:

External image


The chart describes the distribution of the contagion severity over time. The green area represents people healed; the yellow people in home quarantine; the orange those recovered in the hospital in not serious conditions; the red those recovered in ICUs; and the black those who didn't make it.

EDIT 26/03: Official (government) sources report that: "It's evident how the number of people in ICUs is slowly, but constantly decreasing, meaning that so far the pressure on hospitals is slowly going down."

However, if we do a bit of math, the official comments are not correct. I took two days (March, 12th, and March, 24th) and multiplied the total active cases by the relative frequency to obtain the real values:

- on March, 12th, we had 1196 people in ICUs
- on March, 24th, we had 2647 people in ICUs [END EDIT]

We also had the first nurse committing suicide during her shift (the hospital was in Monza, Lumbardy; she was 34, turns out she discovered positive to the virus and was afraid of having infected many people in the hospital).

Are we peaking? We don't know. Lumbardy is slowly (very slowly) getting better numbers, but the contagion in the Center / South is rising too fast, and the risk is that other regions soon reach Lumbardy's conditions. It's really not the time to lower the guard.

Now we're talking to keep the schools closed until May (if not until September), and probably shops will follow the same route.

We have new norms running: up to 5 years in jail for people breaking the quarantine; up to 3K EUR for people moving out of their houses without good reasons. Unions just finished a meeting with some ministers to clarify some keypoints for the workers, especially regarding what industries are to be kept working: the original listing was very slim, then it became broader. Apparently, an agreement was found. Gas station workers could possibly go on strike in the next days, basically freezing down the whole transportation system.

Our prime minister, Conte, in conjunction with other prime ministers from other states within the EU, asked to explore the opportunities within the "coronabonds", to help States buy equipment to go through the emergency. Not everyone is on the same page, so, I assume we need to wait to know.

Special commissioner Bertolaso, summoned to Italy to help with the emergency, has been recovered in a clinic, positive to the virus. Angelo Borrelli, leader of the Civil Protection, showed symptoms as well.

In the Campania region, the promised medical equipment hasn't arrived yet. Needless to say, the region is surging.




Our day. Exactly like yesterday's (or so). Andrea kept working (yesterday he finished at 1 AM, today he started again at 8 AM), and I kept working on my spring cleanings duties. I tried a new recipe, vegan friendly (not so sure if it's entirely vegan, but should be very easy to adapt). It's an experimental gelato that's actually delicious:

For each person:

- 1 banana (approx 100 g) (you need a very ripe banana, almost black on the outside, that needs to be cut into pieces and frozen for at least a few hours before starting this recipe)
- 10 g of bitter cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon of soy milk
- chocolate chips

Put all but the chocolate ships in the mixer and mix. Once you have a cream, add the chocolate chips. Enjoy

No news from Cat's mom. Mario's fine.

For dinner: burgers, peas, and mashed potatoes. Outside it's chilling cold, and we need some energy.
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15. Board Game: Pandemic: Gen Con 2016 Promos – Z-Force Team Member/Game Convention [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Board Game: Pandemic: Gen Con 2016 Promos – Z-Force Team Member/Game Convention
Julia
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March, 26, 2020

15th day of lockdown. Numbers are up again, +8.3% since yesterday (against the promising +7.5% scored yesterday), +4492 new cases (against the +3491 of yesterday). 662 people died, bringing the total of victims to 8165, with a current death rate of 10.14%. Total infected since the beginning of the epidemic in Italy is 80539 (twice as many as seven days ago). Central regions in Italy and some regions in the South are surging, but the numbers got back to increase also in Lumbardy. If you're wondering how many people have been denounced to the authorities since the beginning of the lockdown, well, it's slightly above 111K.

Bergamo's mayor declared that 212 bodies have not be factored in by the authorities, and that, based on an estimation done through witnesses of family doctors, there's something between 17K and 32K infected people in the city. If you're wondering how big Bergamo is: it's small, 32K affected is 1 person every 4.

The biggest news from today is that starting tomorrow we're getting a "technological task force", whose first job will be analyzing the phones of infected people to understand whom, among their contacts, might have been infected by them while moving around / going to visit and so on. In this way, capillary controls could be further performed to identify potentially positive subjects and isolate them. It's very similar to what was done in South Corea; let's hope it's effective as well.

We've also got official words on school and instruction. The minister responsible for this area declared that schools won't open again "until it's safe", meaning that now we don't have an official date for kids to return to school. They are already thinking at how to end the scholastic year from home (including how to have the graduation exams to be done from distance), and as of yesterday they purchased from Google licenses to use their platform for distance learning.

More doctors were flown in from China.




Cases in my city keeps growing. As of today, 1 person every 880 has it. We keep staying home (the pantry is still full), and we wait for some good news that are not coming. Of course, we had too many people around until a few days ago, so, it's normal a delay in the peak here, but nonetheless, 1 in 880 is too much.

Staying home could be really challenging. Not for us (still leading an active life, with plenty of hobbies and being 2p under the same roof, at least we can talk), but for elderly people leading a lonely life: after two weeks locked in, they want out, and not knowing how long the situation will last, can lead them into making stupid false movements. On a newspaper today we discovered that there's free parking anywhere in the city until April, 30. Which is nice (people can drive, shop for food, go back home without using public transport or push buttons to pay for the parking spot), but it's also scary because this means at least another 5 weeks this way.

Cat's mom is stationary. Still no way to get her tested.

Andrea spent the day working. I tried a few recipes. I made a vegan crostata, based on soy milk, sugar, flour. It came a 60% of its potential: I misscalculated something in the oven (possibly I baked it in the wrong position inside the oven) and I still had some raw spots in the pastry. Not bad the flavor tho. Tomorrow I'll try some variations (not that I'm throwing the cake away: I'm baking small portions to try out different recipes)

For dinner: veggie soup and pizza leftovers from Monday. Then probably the new episode of Lego Masters.

It's been a windy day.

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16. Board Game: Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:3599]
Board Game: Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America
Julia
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March, 27, 2020

16th day of lockdown. Contagion rate is back down to +7.4%. Apparently, yesterday's peak was due to a bandwagon of screening results arriving, so, it wasn't as alarming as it might have seemed. However, we hit 86498 infected people since the beginning of the epidemics, and in the last 24 hours 969 patients passed. This is the highest number of deaths since the beginning, and it's almost twice as much as the number of people who healed: +589. Current death rate is 10.56%, and it's been constantly increasing over the last two weeks (a clear signal that the healthcare system capacity is long gone now).

Numbers in Lumbardy are slightly better, but the other regions are getting worse and worse.

Special commissioner Arcuri declared that today 136 new ventilators were activated, and that this helped since in the last period the need for IC therapy increased by 68%. 9.6 millions of protective masks were finally inputted into the market.

Tonight, the President of our Republic sent a new message to the nation. Words of hope, and of appreciation for all those who are in the first line, fighting the virus.

In the last two months, 6205 healthcare operators were infected, i.e. the 9% of the national total. Among those, as of today, 51 doctors passed: most of these people have no face or name for many of us, and yet they passed, serving us all. One of the most important national papers in the country dedicated to their memory a great portfolio, not so curiously called Spoon River. You won't probably be able to understand their stories, but if you wanna flip through the photos, it's a nice way to say thank you.

After a period of decreasing contagions in Codogno (the "patient zero" municipality), restrictions were made a bit less severe. Result: an outbreak of new cases, highlighting once more how numbers decreasing means only that we kept going with the lockdown for a lot longer.

A black market operation selling fake testing kits directly to (scared) citizens was discovered in the South of Italy. The guy behind the scam was the owned of a biomedical lab in Gioia Tauro (so, I assume a real doctor). According to the current rules, he's now facing a fee ranging from 21,400 to 128,400 EUR.




Our day. Andrea worked, surprisingly only until 5 pm. I started a new sewing project: crafting a book where each page is a piece of fabric and they all together tell a real story. So, I've started with some Disney princesses fabric and I'm telling a story of Mulan and some dragons. It's fun, and once it's done I'll ship it to a dear friend who has an adorable 2 y.o daughter.

I watched Loch Ness in the afternoon. A very predictable movie, but I'm a sucker for Ted Danson, so, I had to see it.

We had a 45 minutes workout home. I'm sore, but happy, it's good to get toxines out of the system and work on cardio a bit, 16 days locked home are... something that requires some alternative solutions.

I just checked out on my sidetable. 6 books in the reads. I decided to add a new one: Still life, by Antonia S. Byatt. In 10 pages I've got Van Gogh and Mallarme, and Proust, and the idea that the immanence of death can be escaped by the contemplation of the eternal olive trees in Provence. Can't ask much more from a prologue, right?

Irish potato soup for dinner, and grilled chicken breast with a couple of episodes of Modern Family (alas, the last season is very rushed, and poorly conceived, but I wanna see how it ends).

Off to cooking, and let me know if you want the recipe of the soup
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17. Board Game: Plague Inc.: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:897]
Board Game: Plague Inc.: The Board Game
Julia
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March, 28, 2020

17th day of lockdown. Contagion rate dropped another half point, down to +6.9%, bringing the total of positive cases since the beginning of the epidemic to 92472. In two days from now, we're gonna pass the 100K cases mark. 70K of these cases are still active. 889 more people died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of casualties to 10023. 12384 people were declared "healed". Current death rate is 10.84%, again rising above yesterday's.

It appears now a matter of hours before the prosecution of the lockdown is extended beyond April, 3rd (the date were life should have been back to normal). Now they are saying they wanna extend it to April, 18th, but they are considering to extend it until the end of May. We were told that we're not gonna peak and then it'll be done: we're gonna peak, sure, but we're gonna get a series of peaks, because the virus spread through different phases through our peninsula and thus all regions will peak at different times. So, it's gonna be very long. Doctors from the hospital in Bergamo declared that they're gonna expect the situation to last for six more months from now: not all of them to be spent in this very situation, but it'll be September before things can return to be relaxed.

Besides, Americo Chicchetti, director of the "Superior School of Economics and Healthcare System Management" showed data according to which for at least 4 months from now, 1 million recoveries and 500K non-urgent surgeries will have to be postponed because hospitals and clinics are not capable of handling any of the normal workload. This includes lighter stuff such as dermatologic surgery up to more complex issues such as hip replacements or hernia. The fallout of all of this will echo until the first months of 2021, and this only in case the situation doesn't get worse.

Starting tomorrow, the new hospital built within the Milano expo will be operative. The region Lumbardy is talking buy a machine capable of processing 13K screening tests per day, following the lead of the nearby Veneto region, where said machine is already operative.

Police discovered another illegal trafficking of protective masks: this time standard masks (1.18 EUR each) were sold at 13 EUR in a shop where they were declared to be CE certified and with an FFP2 protection mechanism (obviously they had none). 300 of such masks have been removed from the market.

Food shortage begins to be a thing. Specifically: eggs, flour, yeast. Of everything else, there's still plenty, but of these three, there's little to none everywhere. Supermarkets are rationing these items, allowing a max pro-capita. As of today, the fun story of a lady trying to buy 10 packets of yeast, seeing her request reduced to only 3, and deciding to go home, change clothes, go back to the supermarket and pay to a different cashier, and repeat the operation a total of 6 times for 18 packets is becoming viral. Mostly because a lot of people thought it was a good idea, and they have to do the same.




I spent the morning reading a series of reports from different virologists. I've found particularly interesting an interview with Marie-Paule Kieny (former vaccine research director at WHO). In the interview, she was asked about SARS, Ebola, Zika and Chikungunya (and of course, Corona). They asked her about the reasons why we had so many epidemics in such a short timeframe, and her answer was adamant. Basically, she identified three major vectors:
- climate change: with the current climate change, there's a lot more insects, and these insects are capable of reaching a wider area. For example, Zika and Chikugunya are carried by mosquitos
- globalization: constant travelling allows for viruses to spread faster and reach again too many areas
- too high population density, especially in some urbanized areas
These three elements create an explosive mixture, so that this current emergency is not a solitary case. The need for fixing the bigger picture should be a priority now (and this regardless of any political agenda or any misuse that this or that politician might have done of said themes).

And of course, it's Saturday, and Andrea worked in the morning (at a game first, and then he tutored over Skype one of his last pupils).

We heard from Cat, who told us a bit of "supermarket stories". Some of her colleagues are breaking down, too much stressed by the constant exposition to reckless customers. Another of her colleagues was accused of "cutsies" when he jump ahead of the queue of customers to enter the supermarket for the beginning of his shifts. He stopped, looked at the folks in line, and said "well, I do work here, but if you wanna take my place for the next 8 hours, I'm happy to do the shopping for you". Nodoby answered, and he entered.

Anyway, Cat's mom is stationary. Still fever, still cough, but nothing really endangering her.

The afternoon was spent cataloguing comic books and reading a bit. I've also studied a bit more of options for cakes without any yeast / baking soda / whatevs that can make the dough rise. I've found a very interesting apple cake with crumbled almonds and cinnamon that seems pretty delish. I'm gonna experiment with that one tomorrow.

For dinner: second round of yesterday's Irish potato soup, cauliflower with curry, and some fish.

After that, possibly a game, possibly some LEGO for Andrea (he's still not building the Falcon, but building the Winter Gingerbread house), and for sure some more reading.




As requested, here is the recipe for the Irish potato soup (directly taken from a book bought while visiting Ireland in 2013)

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18. Board Game: Plague Inc.: Armageddon [Average Rating:8.13 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.13 Unranked]
Board Game: Plague Inc.: Armageddon
Julia
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March, 29, 2020

18th day of lockdown. Contagion rate is down to +5.6%, total cases since the beginning of the epidemic are 97689. Tomorrow for sure we're gonna pass the 100K mark. Current death rate is 11.03%, still growing: in the last 24 hours, again the number of deaths was higher than the number of healings, 756 to 646.

The news is... that there's no more news. I realized that over the course of the day. We keep reading the same stories, and we keep seeing that the same patterns are constantly followed over and over again. The disease is moving to different fronts. Not all regions will be hit as hard as Lumbardy (also thanks to the initial delay that allowed a different evolution in other areas). In my region, we're peaking as of today: it's only +21 cases from yesterday; a few days ago we had +250 overnight.

So, we are all waiting. A long wait, that gets on everyone's nerves. The silence, the hours spent home, the unknown (when will this end? when can we go back to our normal life? have we finally learned something, or it's just a dodged bullet until next time?). The growing anger: yesterday only 49 people were reported for breaking the quarantine (so, infected who went out regardless, and there's no reasons: we have services to help these people).

The inevitable follow-up questions: poverty is rising, people are running out of money to buy food because it's the end of the month, and we still don't know when the State will fuel our finances. This is especially true in some areas of the country, but nonetheless many are asking.

In these 18 days, I've learned a lot of things. That staying home this long time can be complex, for many reasons. From the fact that constant contact with the same other person (or people if you have an offspring) can be nerve wrecking even if you're the best couple on the planet. Because the inevitable tension (due to the situation) is poured on the other one (at some point, maybe not in a violent way, but it's difficult to feel in sync and "relaxed"). That you need to do something physical to remove the growing stress (one of our friends told us "bang like bunnies" which kinda made me chuckle, but that or working out home, or just running in your apartment, or moving around furniture, do whatever you want but you need an escape from the immobility). And that you need to invent a way to make days look a bit different, otherwise it's just a (very) long wait that can be difficult on our minds.

And I'm not complaining. I'm ok with all of this because it's necessary, and because there's so many who are fighting a tougher battle than us staying home. But when you go down into lockdown - and everybody is now there, or very close to that - you'll all reach a difficult point in your life (due to fear, due to seclusion, due to the unknown, due to whatevs). Make sure you have options, friends to call, and ways to keep your mind entertained.




Also, I think it's time this list changes. Originally, it wanted to tell the story we were going through, a provide a sort of compendium of information and experience and possibly also useful links.

Over time, this story became - sadly - everyone's story: we are all in lockdown, we're all facing the same issues and problems. And we all have a story to share.

For this reason, I'm changing the format and allow public additions to the list. Feel free to add items, tell your story, your day, your battles, so that everyone wanting to share, can. Feel free to edit items every day to add something, or just start another item.

Whatever you wanna do, thank you all for the time spent here together

Love and peace

heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart




EDIT: I was mailing to a friend, and thought this might be worth sharing with everyone.

Paolo Giordano, a contemporary Italian poet, wrote, about this experience:

"Non ho paura di ammalarmi. Di cosa allora? Di tutto quello che il contagio può cambiare. Di scoprire che l'impalcatura della civiltà che conosco è un castello di carte. Ho paura dell'azzeramento, ma anche del suo contrario: che la paura passi invano, senza lasciarsi dietro un cambiamento."

"I'm not afraid of getting sick. Of what, then? Of everything that this contagion can change. Of discovering that the societal structure that I know it's just a castle made of cards. I'm afraid of losing purpose, but also of the opposite: that fear goes away leaving behind no teaching, no change"
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19. Board Game: Een Reis Door Nederland [Average Rating:5.02 Unranked]
Board Game: Een Reis Door Nederland
Erik G
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I've read this list with interest. How some things are different and some things are the same.

I live in the Netherlands. Corona came here first on the 28th of Februari. It was brought back by people who went skiing in Italy and Austria. At first, we did not think much of it. Yes, it was big in China, but most people tought it was just some flu.

On the 6th of March it became clear that my province, Brabant, was infected heavily. The people who went skiing mixed with the ones who celebrated carnival, which is a big thing here in the south of the Netherlands. The next few days more measures followed and things became more serious. The 15th of March we reached the state that we are in right now, a kind of "intelligent lockdown". That's how they call it here.

It means that:
- you have to stay home as much as possible. If you are coughing or having fever, you definately have to stay at home
- You are allowed to do shopping, but not in groups and you have to keep 1.5m distance to others
- All groups bigger than 3 are forbidden. So all activities are stopped
- Kids stay at home from school and kindergarten, except kids from parents with essential jobs.
- We have to wash our hands often, sneeze in our elbows and use paper tissues
- Going out for a walk is allowed, but just for 1 person or families.

Measurements are not done here very much, we miss materials to do so. So only people who are hospitalized and some health workers are checked. Looking at those numbers does not help anybody. So they are checking the number of patients in the hospitals and on the ICs. And the deaths.
Discussion about your own death is normal in the Netherlands. People who are already very ill and have low to none chance of survival are asked if they want to be helped, or if they want to stay at home and die there in peace.

This releaves the need for IC beds, the biggest issue for the coming months. The government sees the numbers slowly dropping a bit, but nobody knows if this will be enough to help everybody. They are trying really hard to increase capacity. We will have to see in a few days to weeks if this is enough.


Personally, life is strange. Me and my wife came back last week from our honeymoon in New York. Our wedding was just before everything was cancelled and also our trip to NY was borderline ok.

Now we have to work from home with our 2 year old walking around. My wife works in health care (support staff) and has to be at the office sometimes. I have to take care of the kid then. When we are both at home, one has daughter duty and the other works. We start at 6:30 in the morning and work to 6:30 in the evening. During her sleep we both work. She gives us rythm, but at the same time, it is harder then I expected. There is only so much you can do with a 2 yr old. Normally we went for groceries, swimming, drinking tea at the grandparents etc. All these things we cannot do anymore, so the days are long. But at the same time, it is extremely quality time with my daugther.

Working from home is harder then it looks. I get really tired of video conferncing all day long. But they are all luxury problems.

Free time is spend on making a new baby room .

We expect that this will take at least another month. It will be though, but I'm sure we will manage it.


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20. Board Game: Plague Inc: Patient Zero Pack [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Board Game: Plague Inc: Patient Zero Pack
Julia
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March, 30, 2020

19th day of lockdown. And there's a lot of news.

First, the numbers. Contagion rate is down to +4.1%, and we had "only" 1648 new cases from yesterday. The day before we had +3815 new cases. The total of affected people since the beginning of the epidemic is slightly above the 100K threshold: 101,739 to be precise. Overnight, 812 people didn't make it, and 1590 people were declared healed. Current death rate, nonetheless, is increasing to 11.39%.

So, we're still on the rising limb, and even if we peak today, we'll still need 3 weeks to allow the current pressure on the healthcare system to be reduced, but at least, we're close to the turning point.

We had a new plot coming out today, showing the most likely recovery scenarios:

External image


"osservati" means "observed, known", where "previsti" means "forseen, attended". It's a projection taken from the Eief (Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finances), based on all the official data we have available, and it'll be updated on a daily basis, after the new data are released. The tail of the distribution presents quite a scatter because a) it's very far away in time, and b) it depends a bit on how serious people will keep being, and on how hard the contagion will hit the center / south of Italy.
- it's expected that Lumbardy, Piedemont and Veneto will be the first regions where the pressure will wear off (by the end of April)
- Tuscany could be "freed" at the beginning of May, or half May at latest
(for optimistic previsions, the median of the distribution was used; for less optimistic previsions, upper quartiles were used)

It's also worth noticing that the author of the paper states that these data are based only on results from screened patients, whereas is now accepted that the actual dimensions of the phenomenon are one order of magnitude greater.

Finally, it was stated that data should be more reliable by the end of this week. In any case, this would represent a possible outcome only in case restrictions remain in order for as long as needed.




Another groundbreaking news is that the biotech company Takis started pre-clinical tests on five different possible vaccines, all based on the Spike proteine that the virus uses to attack human cells. Tests could be completed by the end of May / beginning of June, meaning that after summer experimental meds for humans could be coming (source: Luigi Aurisicchio, Takis spokesperson and member of the board).




On a more difficult front, 10 more doctors passed over the last two days, bringing the total to 61 over the last two months.

A new political front was opened by a group suggesting that all of this is a hoax. Interestingly enough, they gather close to 8K subscribers in very few days.

50 people were identified while celebrating the good news, dancing in the streets (the imbeciles uploaded the video on the internet).




Our day. Cat's mom is better. Fever's gone, cough's better, lungs don't seem to be inflamed / have issues any longer. Her father's also good (probably asymptomatic), so, it's all good news. She got Disney+ and gave us a code so that she can cuddle me from distance. I spent the afternoon playing with her Carcassonne over yucata.de and watching together / and divided Aladdin. It was fun.

Andrea got furious with our upstairs neighborhood, who invited a contractor to fix some stuff (first of all, works in the common property are to be approved by all three families owning the house, and then, they just worked together at very close distance, no masks, no nothing. Best way to spread the virus and bring it home).

We had a 30 minutes workout followed by an hour of reading books to end the afternoon.

And we heard from Mario: instead of shipping the second half of the books, he decided to re-read first a few volumes. Love his spirit, and love that he dodged the bullet last week.

For dinner: something vegetarian, but I still don't know what.
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21. Board Game: Plague Inc: 5th Player Expansion [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Board Game: Plague Inc: 5th Player Expansion
Julia
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March, 31, 2020

20th day of lockdown. Numbers are in line with yesterday's: +4.0% contagion rate, 105792 infected. 2107 new cases (against the +1648 of yesterday), 837 new deaths, 1109 new healings. Doctors who lost their lives in service are now 66; hospitals have a new problem: they do have oxygen for therapy, but they do not have the bottles.

We had a detailed overview of what the goverment will help citizens afford the economical crisis. It's the first time in 20 years that I'm happy with them, 'nough said.

As of today, a minute of silence was observed to mourn all the fallen.

The news of the day is that finally protective masks are delivered to every citizen in the country. We know that:

a) masks will be placed in our mail boxes so that we can avoid contact with the operators
b) masks after delivery need to be sterilyzed, either with alcoholic solutions (with at least 70% alcohol) or with a 0.5% NaClO solution (Sodium Hypoclorite, i.e. bleach). The sterilyzation process must last at least 10 minutes to be effective
c) masks then need to be dried. This can be done both by leaving them dry out, or by ironing them
d) masks were designed to block droplets, so, these will actually help containing the infection
e) masks are to be washed after use: to do so, you need to wash them in warm water (i.e. equal to, or greater than 60°C). They should resist to 20 cycles of washing before the need of a new one

Of course, this also triggered a new phenomenon: people following the delivery guys and stealing the masks to sell them on the black market later. Cool, uh?




Our day was identical to yesterday, and will probably be the same as tomorrow. More reading for me in the evening, and more reading for A as well: tuesday night is book night (we need something to make the days feel at least a bit different).

Workout was nice, we're close to scoring 10K steps in a day two days in a row.
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22. Board Game: Plague & Pestilence [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:5075]
Board Game: Plague & Pestilence
Julia
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April, 01, 2020

21th day of lockdown. Yesterday we had a huge series of issues because apparently the government decided to allow for a minimal human activity. At first it was said it was ok jogging and going out with your kids. Then we had almost an insurrection from Regions asking for stricter norms, so, it turned out that you were allowed to do such activities but within 200 meters from home. Then I don't know. Truth is that numbers are rising again: +4.5% contagion rate vs yesterday's +4; 2910 new cases vs yesterday's 2107 and the day before yesterday's 1648. New deaths are 727, so, slightly lower, and new healings are 1118, so in line with yesterday's. What's good in here? That the number (talking absolute frequency, not % like a previously posted chart) of people in ICUs is slightly decreasing.

According to government sources, the situation in the North of Italy appears to be slightly better, whereas in the center / south it's getting more and more complicated. Nonetheless, doctors in Lumbardy complained about not having enough protective masks to work in hospitals, and that screenings for new cases are still not enough to cover all the cases that need testing.

We also had official data released by Istat (which is the official organ for statistics in my country) where (and this was asked by a user a while ago) the current death rate was plotted against previous years' death rates. Apparently, if we plot the number of deaths in the first 3 months of 2020 vs the first three months of 2015-2019 averaged, we get an increase of 400%

Follows sample image from a Bergamo church where bodies are hosted (it's not graphical, so, worry not, but it'll stay with you for a while nonetheless)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
External image


The INPS (the organ responsible for paying - among other things - the extra funds to those applying to them due to the current crysis) today started accepting applications for the special funds. In the very same day, it was targeted by a hacker attack that froze down the site for the entire day.




No sign of our masks. Apparently, we had 20K available, and there 250K people in my city. Originally they should have been delivered to elderly people only; then to those family having at least 1 elder with them; then, I don't know.

There's more people in the streets. Clearly the idea of "getting better numbers" was synonim of "it's all gone, let's go out for a party".

I started sewing a Halloween village, then I kept reading a bit "Still life", by Antonia Byatt. Andrea kept working until 6 PM. We're still debating about what to do for dinner. We still have the pantry half full, but A's mom needs a few basics, so, tomorrow I'm headed to the supermarket again. I'll go really early in the morning to avoid the masses.
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23. Board Game: Dice Hospital [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:877]
Board Game: Dice Hospital
Julia
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April, 02, 2020

22nd day of lockdown. Numbers just arrived, we're still on the same levels as the last few days: +4.2% contagion rate, 2504 new cases, 760 new departures, 1431 new healings. Current death rate is at 12.07%. Now they are saying that we need a few more days on this "plateau" before start descending. For now, we know that nothing will change until April, 13th, and then they'll see.

Lumbardy keeps getting slightly better, even if the aftermath is pretty tough. As of today, the crematorium in Lambrate (Milano) closed down until April, 30th: they have already bodies to burn up to that date, and stocking further bodies would be dangerous for health reasons. So, further bodies are moved into different directions, hoping that at least there, a way will be found. The pressure on the other regions in Italy keeps on getting higher tho, so that the better numbers of the most exposed reagions are compensated by the more important numbers of the rest of the country.

3 more doctors died to the virus, bringing the total to 69 since the beginning.

The Civil Protection launched a different campaign to distribute the masks: citizens won't be informed of when they're gonna receive the masks, so that it'll be more difficult for people to steal them to sell them later on the black market. Distribution will also be enforced by police.




So, not many big news today. The general feeling is that we keep on waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

In the morning (after an inevitably difficult night despite the double chamomille), I went to the supermarket to get some groceries and other perishable products for us and A's mom. It wasn't supercrowded, and most of the people were rather civil. One couple was shopping together, and the personnelle asked them to separate and one of them to wait outside. They did it, without complaining. Back home, I started cooking and preparing food for the next two weeks (minimum) we'll have to spend home.

In the afternoon, I planted basil in the garden.

Andrea worked the whole day (11h and a half, good lord...).

Time to prepare dinner. Tonight a quiche made with zucchini, mushrooms, and Montasio cheese. Then hopefully a game or two. We're close to finishing a new prototype, so, starting tomorrow we're back to testing.
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24. Board Game: Dice Hospital: Deluxe Add-Ons Box [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Board Game: Dice Hospital: Deluxe Add-Ons Box
Julia
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April, 3rd, 2020

23rd day of lockdown. I know yesterday was 22, but it was also the 23rd item in the geeklist, and the first item spelled day 1. So, at some point I lost a day (or lived twice the same day?). Anyway, it's 24. (turns out I cannot count)

Data: still stable, same as yesterday's: +4.0% contagion rate, total cases up to 119827, 14681 departures (+766), 19758 healings (+1480), current death rate: 12.25% (+0.18%).

Did we get the lesson? NOPE:

"on April, 2nd, out of 246,829 people checked, 7,659 got a ticket, 85 were taken to court for false declarations (*), 24 for violating their quarantine after being tested positive. On April, 1st, 7080 people got a ticket, 113 were taken to court for false declarations, 19 for violating their quarantine after being tested positive. Over the last five days, a total of 43K people got tickets for violating the current lockdown norms"

(*) = basically, on the self-certification format, entering a reason that proved being false. There might be a legal tech term that I'm missing, but you've got the gist.

The impression I have is that people realized we're into the transitioning towards better days, and for them it meant that the danger is gone. Which is just plain stupid, but news seem to confirm this: there's people re-opening their bars, and people going out a lot more than needed (as confirmed by Cat's daily walks to her job).

Yesterday we reported the first death among convicts. Let's say there's a lot of tensions in jails. Some convicts where moved to home detention if the sentence was shorter than 18 months, but those remaining in... well.

Angelo Borrelli, head of the Civil Protection, declared, as of today, that there's no way we're gonna leave our homes until May, 1st. He then was forced to release a second statement saying that it's not official, and the last word on the matter is what the goverment decides, but still, May, 1st, makes a lot more sense than April, 13th to me.




Our day. Cat received in the afternoon the masks. I've asked her to take some pics of them to upload here; possibly when she's back from work, she'll be able to do it, and I'll upload them in tomorrow's post. She also got a bonus on her salary because she's constantly exposed: 100 EUR in "company money", she has to spend them to buy food at her supermarket or she's gonna lose them. At least, it's something.

Andrea worked a decent amount of hours (no news here, right?).

I learned how to do brownies, and baked a bunch. They turned out super-nice. Next step is learn how to do a proper vanilla ice-cream home, and then have some fun.

So, the brownies were the crime, and the punishment was a 45-minute workout. I'm sore like I climbed a mountain. I probably need more excercise. Or more brownies...

Oscar Wilde once said "we all live in a gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars". So, have a little bit of starry fun: enter your birthday date, and look at what the Hubble telescope saw on your name day by going here (it's official NASA, so, worry not, they already have all your data)

Dinner: I've roasted a chicken, and I'm gonna do some nice potato puree. I'll try to leave the remaining brownies for tomorrow at breakfast.
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25. Board Game: Doctor! Doctor! [Average Rating:5.46 Unranked]
Board Game: Doctor! Doctor!
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Is it Halloween yet?
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I don't even care much about it, but the avatar dress-up is fun :)
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I thought to post this as an item so it doesn't get buried.
It seems to be a bit long but he really made me watch to the end.
Also he comes across a bit strange here and there especially in the beginning, but he really explaines the situation in a way that made me realise more the seriousness of the virus.



Also this (don't get too annoyed between 6 and 9 minutes, his daughter is knocking on the door):



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