Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Day 24 of lockdown. Good news.

The Greeks (as well as the rest of us, expats, residents, visitors, and yachts people) have been promised that if we behave over the upcoming Easter holidays and stay home rather than travel to native villages and thus risk spreading the virus to elderly relatives and friends, the lockdown might be eased somewhat towards the end of April. 

Greece has done an amazing job keeping the virus at bay by quickly enforcing strict lockdown at the beginning of March and the results are showing. Fewer cases and deaths than several other countries in Europe with a similar population and characteristics.

This doesn't mean that the virus has been eradicated, it only means that the hospitals are able to handle the cases that arrive at their doors. The COVID-19 is bound to strike regularly and keeping safe will be very important for everyone until a strong vaccine is found or until most of the population becomes immune to it and it will die out. 

We are still not allowed to go out unless for shopping once a week, for exercise or to the doctor. I have been staying on board except to run or shop every second or third day and spent my time writing, cleaning the boat, cooking and sorting through my stuff.

Perhaps if all goes well, in another three weeks of this self-isolation I can leave the marina and sail again. I am longing to anchor out and swim although it has been quite cold recently. 

Today was the first day that the sun came out after almost a week of rain, wind, and clouds. In fact, last night I saw the most amazing full moon - what's called a super moon - looking much bigger than normal due to some atmospheric conditions.

I took this opportunity of clear weather to hang out the bedding to air out, pull out the quarter berth mattress to air as well, sent laundry out to be washed and dried and moved my bed back to the v-berth for the upcoming summer.

The quarter berth, where I slept all winter is now empty, so taking the opportunity, I will be sanding and varnishing it over the next few days. I'm using the heater much less and hopefully will soon be able to put it away until the next winter.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Day 22. Home experiment gone flat

Having run out of my favourite bakery ciabatta, I attempted to make my own sourdough one yesterday. The sourdough itself seemed fine and was bubbling as it should. I kept feeding it flour each morning for a week as per instructions, but when it came to baking it, it absolutely flopped. It tastes fine, given that I put too much salt in it, but it is all squashed inside. Never mind, at least I won't be gorging myself on freshly baked bread and gaining unnecessary kilos and it will last at least until tomorrow when I can get more from the bakery.

I've been tackling boat cleaning projects, setting the timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes depending on how revolting the job is and then ticking it off on the Google calendar. Of course, after each one, I get a nice reward: a piece of chocolate, a cup of tea or a half-hour of surfing. Slowly, the boat is starting to look more like a boat than a hovel. 

This morning, even though it was overcast and cold, I went for a 6km run on my usual route. Few people out running, walking and cycling but easy to avoid and stay 2 m away. Cold fizzy water from the corner store for a reward. 

My writing is going well, I only write for 30 minutes each morning using the audio prompts I made up and modeled after the C25K app I used to get me to run. Three minutes to prepare, ten minutes to write or edit, three minutes for a break, then another ten minutes of work followed by three minutes to save, sync and back up my work. A great feeling of accomplishment.

The town is awfully quiet without the cafes being open. It feels like a ghost town. Very sad. The owners and staff must be having a hard time making ends meet without the income. I hope the government is helping.

Statistics: Total number of tests: 25,453, Cases: 1,735, Intubated: 83, Deaths: 73, Released from hospital: 10

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Day 21. Lockdown extended to April 27

We've been under lockdown for three weeks now and it has just been extended for another three weeks until April 27. Swimming is forbidden. 
There doesn't seem to be any let-up in the number of cases and deaths. Every day there are more worldwide and in Greece. When one begins to wonder what the future will look like, one might get depressed. How quickly our lives changed from an enthusiastic expectation of spring and sailing to being stuck inside with only brief trips out for necessities. 
I had plenty to do to keep me occupied but missed being out. It rained all day with strong easterly winds, so I wasn't tempted but hopefully, tomorrow things will improve and we'll see some sun. 

Statistics: Cases: 1,673, intubated: 92, Dead: 68.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Day 19: Statistics

Statistics can be helpful when dealing with potentially frightening numbers, such as deaths from the pandemic COVID-19 virus.

In 2018, in Greece, there were 120,297 deaths out of a population of 10,740,000. That's an average of 10,024 per month. So far, we've had 50 deaths from COVID-19 in March. That's an increase of 5% over what is considered normal. This doesn't seem like a lot, however, this involves strict distancing measures.

On the other hand, in 2019 in Italy, the population was 60,317,000  or 6 times of Greece. The number of people who died was 647,000 or approximately 53,917 per month, which is a bit lower given the population, than in Greece. In the last six weeks, however, there were 13,155 deaths from COVID-19 or averaged out, 9,390 per month. That's an increase of 17% over last year. Italy didn't adopt personal distancing measures as quickly as Greece did.

Stay home, stay safe.

What scares me now though is that most of us will probably get it at some time. And the older a person is, especially if they have underlying health issues, the more likely they will die. Some people are calling the coronavirus "the boomer remover." So, best to keep up one's immunity and strength. I try to eat and sleep well and run 5 km. every second day.

It is not easy facing certain death, regardless of when or of what cause, yet it is always there, waiting.

Cases in Greece as of April 1: 1415, intubated: 90 Dead: 50

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Day 18, Lefkas marina community

While under lockdown, with most people in the marina staying put and venturing out only when necessary, individual preferences and quirks are becoming more obvious. Some people are noticeably more eager to socialize and from their cockpit chat up people walking by, while others are happy to stay inside. I imagine that with some couples, it can get difficult to be cooped up with one's partner 24/7 and I notice that often either one or the other head out to the shops or for exercise. 
I think that those who have projects to tackle, whether boat maintenance or writing a book, will be able to better cope with the lockdown. People who are used to sitting in cafes for hours at a time and chatting will find it the hardest to adjust.
There are those who out of habit, must go to the shops each morning, probably risking an infection more than necessary. Even though there is only one known case on the island, there could be quite a few people without symptoms. 
Most of us in the marina are retired, over 60, possibly with pre-existing conditions, such as heart and lung problems and thus more susceptible to getting a serious case of the virus. I'm very glad to see that the government is insisting on social distancing to slow down the progression of this pandemic. There is some talk of the virus not being as aggressive when it's hot - let's hope that the weather warms up soon.
A rainy day today again but a bit warmer - I'm glad to have gone running yesterday but I need to do some indoor exercises today perhaps with some hand weights. It's the 1st of April, so anyone who needs to or wants to can with port authority's permission move their boat to the town quay but it's not possible to return to the marina if things don't work out. So far, I haven't seen anyone leave yet.
A few people began organizing online events: birthday and anniversary parties, meetings. Tonight we are having a virtual quiz night and on Sunday, a talent night. 

Statistics: 1314 cases, 85 intubated, 49 dead and 90% had underlying health issues. 
The recommendation is not to wear masks and to leave them for health workers, those who are infected and those who look after the infected. However, since 10-50% of transmissions are due to asymptomatic patients, we should all be wearing masks. Make your own and leave the others for the health workers.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Day 16. Shopping and boat maintenance.

The morning dawned clear and cold. It's nearly April but still, I need to turn the heater on first thing after getting up. Rest day from running today, so after the morning VHF meeting with the manager, I went shopping (with permission, of course). Sending SMS with number 2 for shopping or 6 for exercise, my name and address is so easy, I worry that one day I may forget. Rob, my neighbour was on the dock checking his boat and he asked if I had remembered to get permission. Good to have a backup. He and I don't spend a lot of time together because he has different values than I do (cigarettes and alcohol) but he is nice and helpful.
The town was busy because it was already after 11 when I left and being Monday, many people were eager to shop after Sunday. The shops are all closed in Greece on Sundays I'm happy to report. It's a family day and everyone gets a rest although the churches are closed now due to the virus.
I've been getting more and more paranoid when near other people. Most don't respect the two-meter distance and I am the one who has to walk on the street or cross the road. Of course, there has only been one instance of the virus infection on the island so far, but we're bound to have more, considering that the man who brought it from Athens likely spread it through the community before he had any symptoms. It's just a matter of time so I prefer to be extra careful. When I came back to the boat, I left the grocery bags on the bow for half an hour before bringing them into the cockpit and even there left them in the sun to burn off any virus they might harbour.

After lunch and a nap, I tackled the galley foot pump that has been leaking and after taking it all apart found that the bellows had cracks along the edge where it is attached and so the source of the leaks. I found the email address of the company that makes them in Taiwan and asked for replacements but likely will need to buy a new one. 

TMC foot pump for the galley.

And so the day is nearly done. Pork chop with potatoes and onions for dinner, the bone into the soup. And later, Ryan and Justin and I will try playing a board game online together.

Statistics: 15,151 tests, with 5% of the infected needing medical treatment. There are 95 new cases, total 1,156. There are 69 people intubated of which 47% will die, 38 deaths (29 men, 9 women, average age 71) 92% of the dead had underlying health conditions. Lockdown extended to April 11.
Greece is managing well so far: 102 cases/1,000,000 people.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 15. Long run to the beach.

The sun is back this morning with only a few fluffy clouds to the south. It is so beautiful out and still quiet at nearly 10 am, so I went for my run and then walked back partially along the beach. 

Swallows are nesting under the marina office, their babies just born and parents frantically flying to feed them.

Update: My friends' daughter and son-in-law are much better today. Fever is gone. It took them two weeks to get to this point. They will now be immune!

My grandson who arrived back home in Toronto from Taiwan two weeks ago is finished with his quarantine. He is healthy.

Statistics: Number of cases: 1,061. Deaths: 37.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Day 14. Another day inside

Sorting documents.
 More rain this morning, so after breakfast, I started sorting my paperwork. I ripped up old bank statements, mobile phone, and Eidos haulout contracts, flight information and boarding passes and left them out in the cockpit to soak and disintegrate. The rest I filed away again. I'm trying to reduce the amount of stuff I have on the boat but it's a never-ending process. 
Tempting but deadly?

The farmers' market was canceled today but Kevin from Sunshine, down on my dock got me some apples. I left the bag outside and washed my hands carefully after getting it, conscious now of how many times I touched something that could have had the virus on it: the coins in my purse, the purse itself, the bum bag I keep the coin purse in, the plastic bag with the apples, Kevin's hand as we exchanged the apples and the coin. Boggles the mind. 
So far, no new cases of the virus on the island, but it's only been a few days since the first case was discovered so anyone who came in contact with the man could be harbouring it and only a few more days from displaying symptoms. I'm getting paranoid. The invisible enemy that could be near and we just can't see it.
Statistics: As of January 2020, the population of Greece was estimated to be 10,758,273 people.
14,363 tested, 6,800 quarantined, 1,061 confirmed, 69 in ICU, 65 intubated, 32 dead. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Day 13. Update

It's been stormy for the past two days, so I stayed home and cleaned more pots, sorted through more clothes and made a new lining for my summer straw basket.

And made a pot of soup.

Put some dough for bread to rise.

Shredded cabbage for sauerkraut.

Strained and fed the milk kefir.
And here is the finished bread.
So, as you can see, I have plenty to do onboard. 

In the afternoon, the sun came out for a bit, so I went for a 6km run towards the beach. I am now on week 10 of the couch to 10km program and it was not easy. It's supposed to rain off and on all week, so I'll need to get out even when the weather is not ideal or I'll lose my tempo. 

Sadly, someone in Vonitsa has lost his boat in the storm. It is being lifted out today. Friends have sent me these photos. The owner was warned that it was not a safe place to leave the boat there but he ignored my friends and went back to Germany. The authorities are trying to find him now. He will owe quite a bit of money for the salvage if he wants his boat back.

As of last night, there are now 966 cases of coronavirus in Greece with 28 dead including two people in their 40s without any previous health conditions. Why did they die? It seems that the medical staff told them to self isolate at home and because of their young age didn't take their condition seriously enough. By the time they arrived at the hospital, it was too late. Of those who died, 23 were men and 5 were women. Most of them had underlying health conditions. Greece is testing now and 13,477 tests have been conducted, so 7% of the people tested were positive for the virus.

Here is my idea on how to limit your chances of catching the virus: go shopping only once a week then isolate for the rest of the time. If you have caught it, the symptoms should start to appear within that time. This way you will not spread it further during the week of self-isolation and while on your own, rest, sleep, eat well and look after yourself so that your body is strong enough to fight off the virus. If you did not catch it, then you are free to go out again the following week. 

More news: Due to the lack of airplanes flying in and out of Greece, the mail system is shutting down. Canada is one of the few countries where mail can still be delivered at this time. Also, our weekly farmers' market has been canceled for the second week.

I decided to stay in the marina until the end of April. Let's hope that we will all be able to do what we want to by then and those of us who want to sail, can do so once again.

Freedom is the main reason why I sail and live on a boat. Freedom to come and go, travel while taking my home with me. Yet, at the moment all our freedom of movement has been denied.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Day 12. What to do if you think you've caught it.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get a mild, symptomless case of the coronavirus, develop immunity to it and then get on with our lives? About 80% of us will do just that, but meanwhile, the other 20% will suffer serious illness and perhaps die. So, in order for the 80% not to infect the 20%, social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
If you suspect you might have caught it, compare how you feel with the following: 

Here's how symptoms progress among typical patients day by day, according to the Chinese CDC:

Day 1 (after the incubation period): Patients run a fever. They may also experience fatigue, muscle pain, and a dry cough. A small minority may have had diarrhea or nausea one to two days before. If you experience these symptoms, stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. Treat your symptoms the same way you would normally treat the flu.

Day 5: Patients may have difficulty breathing — especially if they are older or have a preexisting health condition. Now is the time to call the hospital. If it is only a mild case, you should start to improve in about 10-14 days.

Day 8: At this point, patients with severe cases (15%, according to a study from the Chinese CDC) may develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, an illness that occurs when fluid builds up the lungs. ARDS is often fatal. 

Day 10: If patients have worsening symptoms, this is the time in the disease's progression when they're most likely to be admitted to an intensive-care unit. Perhaps they will be put on a ventilator to help them get enough oxygen. These patients probably have more abdominal pain and appetite loss than patients with milder cases. 

Day 17: On average, people who recover from the virus are discharged from the hospital after 2 1/2 weeks. 

What to do to protect yourself from the virus:

1. Get the regular flu vaccine. People who are protected from regular flu are less likely to suffer from the coronavirus.
2. Drink plenty of clear fluids: water, herbal teas.
3. Red wine and black tea have been known to protect the body from viral infection.
4. Take vitamin C and D.
5. Take some exercise and fresh air.

What to do if you catch the COVID-19:

1. Let the fever do its job. It helps to round up the body's immune defense army. Don't take medication unless the fever is higher than 102 deg. F or 38.9 deg. C.
2. Sleep and rest as much as possible.
3. Keep drinking plenty of warm fluids, chicken broth with pepper to thin mucus.
4. Stop eating sugar and grains. Drink and eat fermented foods, eggs, grass-fed beef, fruit and vegetables, mushrooms, garlic.
5. Gargle with Hydrogen Peroxide.
6. Stay warm and get well.

Family of friends of mine, a young couple in France have caught the virus and have been ill for the past 12 days. They haven't needed to go to the hospital, just called the doctor and are staying home. Nevertheless, they are both in serious pain with a high fever from the so-called mild case of the coronavirus. 
Update day 13: they still have a high fever and the virus has now gone into their lungs but the hospital is full so they are forced to stay home. Their daughter is also not well. My friends are very worried but can't do anything. They are forced to stay isolated in their own home.
Update day 14: their fever has gone down. Hurrah!