We all respond to pandemic hysteria a little bit differently.
My response has been low-grade pyromania.
I live next to LADWP property in Bishop. And there are tumbleweeds everywhere – clogging the streams, nestling in trees, decorating fence lines. It’s a massive fire hazard, and my experience tells me that while it’s not technically my responsibility, if I want anything done about it, I’m gonna have to do it myself.
So I’ve been methodically clearing and burning when conditions are suitable. Outside of practicing good hygiene and keeping my distance from people, I don’t feel like I can do much about the spread of coronavirus. But maybe, by clearing the surrounding property of debris, I can prevent a potential future fire from burning down the house.
Human beings can’t help but try to control their own destinies.
Local officials have seized upon one way to control destiny, and that is by discouraging anyone who’d like to visit. As we approached deadline, news came from Mono County that Public Health Officer Tom Boo had ordered the closure of hotels, motels and short-term rentals in Mammoth as of 3 p.m. Monday, March 23. The status of the order will be reviewed every 14 days.
And then, as Page notes:
With Mammoth Mountain closing down, it seems like a lot of people are trying to figure out what to do with themselves. Being the outdoorsy types, it would be safe to assume some are navigating the backcountry, others are out cross-country skiing (rumor has it that Tamarack is surreptiously grooming) and still more would be heading down US 395 to climb.
A very well-written article on ThunderCling.com titled “The Pandemic Comes to Bishop: A Small Climbing Community Struggles Beneath the Weight of COVID-19” was published on March 17 (http://www.thundercling.com/2020/03/the-pandemic-comes-to-bishop), with writer Dave McAllister chronicling the outsize influx of climbers to the Buttermilks. It sounds like a proverbial cluster-you-know-what, with reports of over 300 vans and cars in some locations, a “staggering number on the best of days.”
McAllister features quotes from a number of fed-up locals, with one of the best coming from Paula Flakser:
“People from many different places are congregating and mashing their filthy hands onto the same holds that someone just mashed theirs on 30 seconds previously… Then those people are flooding coffee shops and restaurants on days like today when the weather is bad. 300 cars at the Happies? Let’s say that’s 600 people in a small canyon. You do the math.”
Online commenters noted that other areas are acting to curb such population clusters. For example, the Southeast Utah Health Department had restricted lodging, restaurants, and closed public places to keep enterprising climbers out. Violators are subject to up to 6 months in jail and fines up $1,950.
On Monday, March 16, NIHD sent out a press release announcing the opening of NIHD’s Rural Health Clinic’s drive-in clinic for the Coronavirus. The drive-in clinic works like the same day service clinic, but Dr. Stacey Brown advises those being tested, “please do not show up at the clinic without calling ahead of time.” Those who are tested will have their tests sent out to Burlington, North Carolina. The lag time to receive results: 5-7 days. The hours for the drive-in clinic are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Eligibility for those needed to be tested starts with a telephone interview for pre-screening with a clinical staff member and based upon the patient’s risk status will determine, if an appointment is set up for the patient. When a pre-screened patient arrives at the drive-in clinic they are greeted outside of the clinic by a provider and care team in personal protective equipment (PPE), then they are briefly interviewed, and then a nose or mouth swab is obtained, said Dr. Brown about the procedure. “If you think you might have a coronavirus infection, call your primary care provider first. If your provider thinks you need to be tested and cannot test you there, have them contact the RHC at (760) 873-2849, and we may be able to help,” said Dr. Brown. During this time, Dr. Brown also recommended that people postpone wellness visits.
According to a daily update provided by the County of Inyo Health and Human Services, at least 23 Inyo County residents have been tested, 19 results are pending, and 4 of those results are negative.
Infection preventionist Robin Christensen said that as of Monday, March 16, 70 kits are available, and more will be coming from the California Department of Public Health and the Governor.
And circling back to Lunch. Been reading “The Road to Character” by David Brooks this week and will probably review it next. Lot of great insights. Probably the best insight is to simply try to get outside of your own head and your own way.
“Truly humble people are engaged in a great effort to magnify what is best in themselves and defeat what is worst, to become strong in the weak places. They start with an acute awareness of the bugs in their own nature. Our basic problem is that we are self-centered, a plight beautifully captured in the famous commencement address David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2003:
Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this natural, basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive. But it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left and right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.”