We’re wearing masks now.

April 3rd, 2020

We’re wearing masks now.

It’s something we’d been thinking of for awhile now, but a combination of the CDC discouraging their use and a desire to not disrupt the supply chain of medical-grade protection kept us away from it. But it seems as if the federal guidance is about to shift to recommend some sort of face protection, with a basic cloth mask covering the nose and mouth seeming to be prudent.

Some have derided this action as unnecessary and insufficient to protect against the disease completely, but the’re full of shit and I’m ready to tell them so now. Any protection is better than no protection; this is what doctors have been told in the absence of PPE, and in the face of the sick and dying, no less. And since we don’t even know if we’re sick due to the high rate of asymptomatic infections, and since someone with COVID-19 can disperse it just through the saliva that expels from breathing in the presence of others, a mask feels like a perfectly reasonable precaution to limit the spread, even if only marginally.

Other countries have figured this out weeks or months ago. Americans need to get onboard and normalize the wearing of masks by healthy people. The curve will never flatten if we don’t start taking this much more seriously, much more quickly.

I’ll see you at the supermarket. When I desperately need supplies. In my mask.


Data collection in times of sickness both personal and global

March 23rd, 2020

Two weeks ago, I caught a sinus infection on the return flight from Disneyland (before the parks were closed down for health concerns; the trip feels like a lifetime ago). Since hospitals and doctors’ offices are getting slammed right now, I knew that making an appointment would not be prudent, so I called and requested an antibiotic prescription (they seemed grateful to have me not clutter their office and get others sick).

Throughout the entirety of my medication period, I took my temperature, sometimes several times a day. I wanted to keep tabs on how my illness progressed, and of course look out for possible COVID-19 symptoms in case my infection was weakening my immune system enough for another viral invader to take purchase (fortunately, this was not the case, and my typical old season-and-travel-influenced nasal drip ran its course as expected).

In the course of taking my temperature and adding the results to the Health app on my iPhone for tracking, I wrote up an iOS shortcut that I could trigger the temperature input via Siri. Maybe someone else will find some use in this, so here’s a link (requires permission to write health data, obvs).

Since I was recording my temperature like crazy, I now have fun visualized data!

Examples of my body temperature readings in the iOS Health app from a few weeks in March 2020.

Got a lot of high 96°F ratings which felt a bit low as a baseline, but then again, I never have this volume of body temperature data available to me, so perhaps I run cooler than I thought. Only got to 99° once and that was after a much-needed outdoor walk, so I’d chalk that up to a slightly elevated heart rate. Average of 97.44° is within expected ranges and also happens to align with the average temperature in recent studies.

So after all that, no fever (and no COVID-19; I’ve been sheltering in place since I got off that plane, especially as the global pandemic started to ramp up). Only some fun with data collection. Which, as self-quarantine activities go, isn’t the worst way to pass the time.

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