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Mark Booth

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The Holiday Bowl here in San Diego was cancelled today, 4 hours before kickoff. It was the UCLA Bruins that triggered the cancellation. Too many of their players tested positive for COVID.

During a pandemic, when you have a big game coming up, maybe you shouldn't be partying and celebrating with friends and family in the days before the game! Doh!

What a gigantic waste of time & money. The conversion of San Diego's Petco Park (to allow for football) was not a trivial thing.



Mark
 

Carlo Medina

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There is definitely something going around in SoCal, Mark. As you know, I'm triple shot & boosted as of end of November. I also got my flu shot, although the CDC says it's was a bad match this year. They did say although the flu vaccine may not be as effective at preventing infection, there should still be some palliative benefits if you do get the flu.

So this week, Monday morning I awoke with a cough and slight congestion and felt a little warm. I took my temperature and it was 99.5 (my body usually is between 97.7-98.3F). So I considered that the beginning of a fever. I decided to get a CoVID PCR test that day. I received the result 24 hours later (Tuesday) and it was negative. However by the time I got the result on Tuesday, my coughing and congestion had worsened. I didn't take my temperature on Tuesday but I don't think it was significantly higher because if I had felt feverish I would have taken my temperature.

I had the worst night of coughing/congestion Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, waking every 2 hours. Wednesday morning (6am) I felt feverish and took my temperature. 103.1. With what I'd sweated out I bet that was the temp for most of that late night/early morning. I took a little bit of NyQuil for the acetaminophen and cough suppressant and fell back into fitful sleep, waking every two hours. At noon I decided to be a little active and just walk around the place. Took my temp, it was 101.5 which was better. Took another dose of medicine (this time Tylenol cold and flu, which also has acetaminophen, and the cough suppressant but without the sleepiness of NyQuil).

And then, around 6pm, my temperature was 98.5. Felt like I was on the road to recovery all of last night, went to sleep late (because I'd essentially slept in until noon that day) and woke up feeling pretty close to normal this morning (still occasional cough to dislodge some congestion but that's to be expected).

So if I did have the flu, then the theory about the palliative benefits of the vaccine may have been borne out. Flu usually knocks me out for 5-7 days, and then its after effects linger for another couple of weeks after that. This looks like I got over the worst of it in 48 hours (even though the symptoms started on Monday I didn't feel horrible then, so really the peak was Tuesday and Wednesday).

And like you, I'd always gone out with my mask (worn properly over nose and mouth, fitted around chin and nose bridge). I use a triple ply surgical mask, not a cloth one. And I'd limited my exposure to people to very brief interactions. So I honestly don't know where I could have been exposed long enough to get whatever I got.
 

Mark Booth

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Thanks, Carlos. I never got remotely close to feeling as ill as you did. The slightly runny nose, slightly scratchy throat and itchy, watery eyes symptoms are gone. I still have a little bit of sinus drainage down the back of my throat. My wife reminded me that I have a recent history of sinus drainage during winter months. For the vast majority of my life I did not have any sort of "allergy" type symptoms. But the last 5-6 years or so, I have suffered allergy-like symptoms during the winter.

It is looking like that is exactly what I was/am experiencing (again). Some sort of mild allergic reaction.

But still, I am glad I got tested. It is the RIGHT thing to do.

Mark
 

Mike2001

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Kids’ school district decided this morning that they need a negative Covid test result to go back to school on Monday. Thanks for the heads up district! So now we are waiting in a long car line to get the kids tested. 90 minutes in and only half way through the line.
 

Carlo Medina

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To add to my earlier issue, I think I now know exactly what it was. The most severe sinus infection I've ever had. Rarely has any SI generated a fever for me, at least to that degree, but according to MayoClinic and other reputable medical sites, severe ones can. It would also explain why the fever broke so quickly when normally viruses and bacteria that cause fevers last longer than ~24 hours. This morning I woke up at my normal 97.9F but hacking and coughing up green phlegm. That's when I knew for certain what it was.

I normally get an SI when I'm exposed to extreme allergens. Dust, Santa Ana wind conditions, etc. but it's usually much milder. On Sunday night/Monday morning, I decided to rent a Bissell Big Green carpet steam cleaner and do a long overdue deep clean of my place. Each time I emptied the dirty water tank it literally looked like sludge (yes I vacuum regularly with a Dyson, but good Lord I will steam clean more regularly from now on knowing what I know now). Anyway it tracks that the symptoms showed up literally within 24 hours of doing all of that deep cleaning. Should have worn a mask.

Also makes sense because although I was very careful to always wear a mask when going outside, I did spend quite a bit of time with a few people in my bubble, in fairly close proximity for a good length of time. All were in great health before and after. If I had had something as contagious as a nasty cold or flu, one of them would most likely have gotten it, and no one has.

It was the fever that threw me off. Until I learned severe SIs cause it, I thought had to be virus related. Next time I rent a Bissell I'm going to be kitted up like this...
71YGakrvZjL._SL1500_.jpg
 

Mark Booth

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Daily new cases have exploded in San Diego County. Over 6,000 new cases in 24 hours, dwarfing the daily new case rate a year ago. Fortunately, hospitalizations are about one third of what they were a year ago. However, County health officials are concerned that more severe cases (requiring hospitalization) will become more prevalent over the next 1-3 weeks. There's a lag between new cases and severe illness.

I'm becoming less and less inclined to go anywhere, even in a mask. My magic club meeting is coming up on Monday. I'm supposed to perform that night. I am having an internal tug of war over whether I should go.

Mark
 

Carlo Medina

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That's a tricky question Mark. My own personal calculus (L.A. are exploding, like S.D.) is this:
  • In my mind, boosted is the new fully vaccinated
  • Will everyone be boosted and be diligent about properly wearing a good mask (minimum surgical mask, or KN95 or better) over their mouth and nose
  • How confident am I that if I do get sick, I won't have the pre-existing conditions that send a very small percentage of boosted people into hospitals
Maybe this will help in your personal decision: https://www.sactownmag.com/uc-davis-microbiome-expert-jonathan-eisen-on-omicron/
 

Mark Booth

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That's a tricky question Mark. My own personal calculus (L.A. are exploding, like S.D.) is this:
  • In my mind, boosted is the new fully vaccinated
  • Will everyone be boosted and be diligent about properly wearing a good mask (minimum surgical mask, or KN95 or better) over their mouth and nose
  • How confident am I that if I do get sick, I won't have the pre-existing conditions that send a very small percentage of boosted people into hospitals
Maybe this will help in your personal decision: https://www.sactownmag.com/uc-davis-microbiome-expert-jonathan-eisen-on-omicron/
Good article, thanks Carlos.

For my upcoming magic club meeting... If I go and if I perform, I am going to record my patter in advance and play it back via Bluetooth speaker during the performance. That will allow me to keep my mask on and still present an effective performance. It will, however, necessitate an increased amount of practice to get the timing down.

This month’s theme is ‘You Fooled Us’, based, of course, on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us. Each member that successfully fools the judges earns a beautiful plaque. I want one! :)

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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Interesting article regarding swabbing BOTH your throat and your nose when using an at-home rapid antigen test that instructs you to only swab your nose.


The experts disagree whether adding the throat swab is a good idea. But there's anecdotal evidence that adding a throat swab increases the likelihood that a rapid antigen test will detect Omicron earlier in the infection cycle. The conjecture is that Omicron multiplies in the throat/mouth earlier in the infection compared to previous variants.

Some interesting hypotheses are suggested regarding reasons to NOT add the throat swab. But my personal feeling is the anecdotal evidence outweighs those concerns.

Anyone that has had a PCR test knows they typically swab both your throat and your nose. I think the biggest reason the at-home rapid antigen test kit makers aren't instructing us to swab our throat is due to concerns of injury and/or the possibility of triggering the gag reflex (and inducing vomiting).

The next time I feel the need to use an at-home rapid antigen test I will most definitely be swabbing both areas. I won't go to the back of my throat. Rather, I'll swab deep on the lower part of the inside cheek. That's the area that was swabbed during my last PCR test.

If you can't read the article due to a paywall, here is the anecdotal evidence that is included:





Mark
 
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Malcolm R

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I've had both PCR and antigen tests and no one ever swabbed my throat. Nose only. I would not be trusting "anecdotal evidence" if there's not actual science to back it up.

This is why home testing is a bad idea, especially if those results are included in "official" totals. You can't depend on people doing home testing to follow directions to get an accurate result per the way the test is designed.
 

Mark Booth

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I've had both PCR and antigen tests and no one ever swabbed my throat. Nose only.
Interesting. The three PCR tests I've had over the last 18 months all included a swab of the throat in addition to the nose (throat first, then nose).

I have enough at-home test kits on-hand that I don't mind experimenting. They expire in May, might as well use them.

The next time I feel the need to test (if there is a next time), I will do both throat and nose. Regardless of the test results, I will follow a few hours (or day) later with a nose only test.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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Also, the at-home rapid antigen tests are designed to detect specific proteins. The very same proteins in the spike protein of the SARs-CoV-2 virus. So, regardless if you collect it from your throat or your nose, a positive test result should be accurate for a positive infection.

It seems unlikely that collecting a sample from the throat would help increase the odds of a false positive. More likely, doing so could theoretically result in a false negative.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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I decided to attend my Magic club meeting tonight. I've been practicing my performance for the last two days. So that I will not need to remove my mask to be heard well, I prerecorded the patter for my performance, mixed it with some music, and saved it to my iPhone (and iPad, as backup). I'll play it back through a Bluetooth speaker during my performance. My KN95 (topped with an additional cloth mask) will stay in place the entire evening.

Fingers crossed the effect/routine that I picked is a "fooler" for the judges. I really want one of those 'You Fooled Us' plaques!

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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This sort of fits "how are you dealing with COVID" because it shows people doing "normal" stuff but still being cautious. Photos from last night's Magic club meeting:


Side note: We know of three members that stayed home due to symptoms that might be COVID. One of them is unvaccinated and he's the only one of the three that (so far) is running a fever. I'm a bit worried about him and will give him a call later today.

Mark
 
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Mark Booth

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I spoke with my magician friend and, happily, he is feeling much better. I also called one of the other magician friends that didn't go to the meeting on Monday. His PCR test came back negative, as did his daughter's test. He also related something interesting...

He received an email from his daughter's school on Monday. I'm paraphrasing, but the email basically said... The school has so many cases of COVID among students, it has become impossible to contact trace or even keep up on testing. The school advised that every parent should just assume that the odds are high that their child has been exposed to COVID in school and to take necessary precautionary measures at home.

My friend also said that attendance at this daughter's school has dropped close to 50% of normal. :oops:

In more promising news, there was an article yesterday that case counts at UCSD have started dropping. Infections at the University may have reached its peak.

Mark
 

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