Here is Courtney’s record and photos of what has been happening on Maui. No tourists and even returning residents are to quarantine for fourteen days through the end of May, but our Mayor opened some businesses yesterday. We haven’t had many cases, but only a few qualify for testing —- so Barry and I are still staying home. Stay healthy. Stay home – wherever you are. Enjoy Courtney’s post. Aloha, Renée
March 13, 2020 (Updated March 14, 2020)
Download a printable PDF version of this article here.
Today (March 16), we had our first confirmed case of COVID-19 here on Maui – a flight attendant who had been exposed in Germany on March 4. We are an interconnected world.
Planes and ships keep arriving on Maui where we have NO screening and are promised test kits within the next six weeks. I’ve read that we are about 11 days behind Italy. So, we each need to take responsibly for our own health and the health of those around us. Barry and I are both healthy, but “older,” and I especially have interacted with probably 200 or so visitors in the past week. I don’t want to get sick nor pass the virus on to others, so this is the third day that Barry and I are self-isolating.
The following article by Harvard Doctor Asaf Bitton, executive director of Ariadne Labs in Boston, provides excellent advice.
“I know there is some confusion about what to do next in the midst of this unprecedented time of a pandemic, school closures, and widespread social disruption. As a primary care physician and public health leader, I have been asked by a lot of people for my opinion, and I will provide it below based on the best information available to me today. These are my personal views, and my take on the necessary steps ahead.
What I can clearly say is that what we do, or don’t do, over the next week will have a massive impact on the local and perhaps national trajectory of coronavirus. We are only about 11 days behind Italy and generally on track to repeat what is unfortunately happening there and throughout much of the rest of Europe very soon.
At this point, containment through contact tracing and increased testing is only part of the necessary strategy. We must move to pandemic mitigation through widespread, uncomfortable, and comprehensive social distancing. That means not only shutting down schools, work (as much as possible), group gatherings, and public events, but also making daily choices to stay away from each other as much as possible to Flatten The Curve below.
Our health system will not be able to cope with the projected numbers of people who will need acute care should we not muster the fortitude and will to socially distance each other starting now. On a regular day, we have about 45,000 staffed ICU beds nationally, which can be ramped up in a crisis to about 95,000. Even moderate projections suggest that if current infectious trends hold, our capacity (locally and nationally) may be overwhelmed as early as mid-late April. Thus, the only strategies that can get us off this concerning trajectory are those that enable us to work together as a community to maintain public health by staying apart.
The wisdom, and necessity, of this more aggressive, early, and extreme form of social distancing can be found here. I would urge you to take a minute to walk through the interactive graphs – they will drive home the point about what we need to do now to avoid a worse crisis later. Historical lessons and experiences of countries worldwide have shown us that taking these actions early can have a dramatic impact on the magnitude of the outbreak. So what does this enhanced form of social distancing mean on a daily basis, when schools are cancelled?
Here are some steps you can start taking now to keep your family safe and do your part to avoid a worsening crisis:
1. We need to push our local, state, and national leaders to close ALL schools and public spaces and cancel all events and public gatherings now.
A local, town by town response won’t have the adequate needed effect. We need a statewide, nationwide approach in these trying times. Contact your representativeand your governor to urge them to enact statewide closures. As of today, six states have already done so. Your state should be one of them. Also urge leaders to increase funds for emergency preparedness and make widening coronavirus testing capacity an immediate and top priority. We also need legislators to enact better paid sick leave and unemployment benefits to help nudge people to make the right call to stay at home right now.
2. No kid playdates, parties, sleepovers, or families/friends visiting each other’s houses and apartments.
This sounds extreme because it is. We are trying to create distance between family units and between individuals. It may be particularly uncomfortable for families with small children, kids with differential abilities or challenges, and for kids who simply love to play with their friends. But even if you choose only one friend to have over, you are creating new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that all of our school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent. The symptoms of coronavirus take four to five days to manifest themselves. Someone who comes over looking well can transmit the virus. Sharing food is particularly risky – I definitely do not recommend that people do so outside of their family.
We have already taken extreme social measures to address this serious disease – let’s not actively co-opt our efforts by having high levels of social interaction at people’s houses instead of the schools or workplaces. Again – the wisdom of early and aggressive social distancing is that it can flatten the curve above, give our health system a chance to not be overwhelmed, and eventually may reduce the length and need for longer periods of extreme social distancing later (see what has transpired in Italy and Wuhan). We need to all do our part during these times, even if it means some discomfort for a while. This won’t be forever, but we need to be committed and intentional about our actions now.
3. Take care of yourself and your family, but maintain social distance.
Exercise, take walks/runs outside, and stay connected through phone, video, and other social media. But when you go outside, do your best to maintain at least six feet between you and non-family members. If you have kids, try not to use public facilities like playground structures, as coronavirus can live on plastic and metal for up to nine days, and these structures aren’t getting regularly cleaned.
Going outside will be important during these strange times, and the weather is improving. Go outside every day if you are able, but stay physically away from people outside your family or roommates. If you have kids, try playing a family soccer or basketball game instead of having your kids play with other kids, since sports often mean direct physical contact with others. And though we may wish to visit elders in our community in person, I would not visit nursing homes or other areas where large numbers of the elderly reside, as they are at highest risk for complications and mortality from coronavirus.
Social distancing can take a toll (after all, most of us are social creatures). The CDC offers tips and resources to reduce this burden, and other resources offer strategies to cope with the added stress during this time.
We need to find alternate ways to reduce social isolation within our communities through virtual means instead of in-person visits.
4. Reduce the frequency of going to stores, restaurants, and coffee shops for the time being.
Of course trips to the grocery store will be necessary, but try to limit them and go at times when they are less busy. Consider asking grocery stores to queue people at the door in order to limit the number of people inside a store at any one time. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after your trip. And leave the medical masks and gloves for the medical professionals—we need them to care for those who are sick. Maintain distance from others while shopping—and remember that hoarding supplies negatively impacts others so buy what you need and leave some for everyone else. Take-out meals and food are riskier than making food at home given the links between the people who prepare food, transport the food, and you. It is hard to know how much that risk is, but it is certainly higher than making it at home. But you can and should continue to support your local small businesses (especially restaurants and other retailers) during this difficult time by buying gift certificates online that you can use later.
5. If you are sick, isolate yourself, stay home, and contact a medical professional.
If you are sick, you should try to isolate yourself from the rest of your family within your residence as best as you can. If you have questions about whether you qualify or should get a coronavirus test, you can call your primary care team and/or consider calling the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617 983 6800 (or your state’s department of health if you are outside of Massachusetts). Don’t just walk into an ambulatory clinic—call first so that they can give you the best advice—which might be to go to a drive-through testing center or a virtual visit on video or phone. Of course, if it is an emergency call 911.
I realize there is a lot built into these suggestions, and that they represent a real burden for many individuals, families, businesses, and communities. Social distancing is hard and may negatively impact many people, especially those who face vulnerabilities in our society. I recognize that there is structural and social inequity built in and around social distancing recommendations. We can and must take steps to bolster our community response to people who face food insecurity, domestic violence, and housing challenges, along with the many other social disadvantages.
I also realize that not everyone can do everything. But we have to try our absolute best as a community, starting today. Enhancing social distancing, even by one day, can make a large difference.
We have a preemptive opportunity to save lives through the actions we take right now that we will not have in a few weeks. It is a public health imperative. It is also our responsibility as a community to act while we still have a choice and while our actions can have the greatest impact
We cannot wait [my emphasis].
Wherever you are – Stay healthy. Stay home. Help one another.
May you and your loved ones we well. Aloha, Renée
“Adversity, challenges, and bumps in the road
are often the first signs that a great healing
Thinking of you
Especially when one seeks to understand them.”
- I saw this good reminder in my chiropractor’s office this morning.
- May there be much healing in your life. Aloha, Renée
“The world is great. This country is great. The skylines of San Francisco and New York are beautiful to behold, especially on a sunny day. My smartphone is amazing. The world we have created is a wonder, and I am personally taking full advantage of it,” says Zen teacher and poet, Norman Fischer, in The Sun, August 2018.
But, at the same time, we are in a mess. The impulse to make money has left us with tremendous injustice. Some people are doing great while others are suffering terribly. We are screwing up the climate, causing extinctions, causing the earth to reorganize herself in ways that will probably ruin a lot of what we have built and maybe even make the planet uninhabitable for us. Our creativity has also caused us to produce weapons capable of killing huge numbers of people. The chances of our never having a nuclear war are slim. And I haven’t even mentioned drug addiction and mental disorders and racism and sexism and abuse, most of it more or less caused by our high-pressure, runaway consumerist society, where even the post privileged people are a wreck. We don’t have enough depth, meaning, humility, kindness, love or respect for the other and the unknown” [my emphasis] (11).
“We have to get over being dismayed by other people and consider what they’re saying. No denigration or demonizing of others. Maintain a calm but critical exploration of views, not just an outraged dismissal. Be respectful, and don’t be pious” (10). . .
“In Zen practice we follow precepts, which we understand not as rules to live by but as a way to be fully present in a complicated world. The precepts more or less amount to being content with what is, not making things worse, and not hurting anyone. Following these precepts ideally becomes a more primary impulse than preference — or maybe it becomes the main preference. In my own case, I enjoy what I do and am trying to be of benefit to others. I hope things turn out well, and I work toward that end, but if they don’t, I am OK with that, too. Because then I find myself in a new situation, one that I didn’t want but one I now have to embrace. That’s what the teachings are telling us: Where your preferences are ethical and significant, act on them, and then embrace whatever happens, even if your preference is not realized. Act, and then let go. Act, let go. That’s what we have to do” (11).
“There’s no reason to be in despair, as far as I can see. Life is always hopeful. Wherever there’s life, there’s also possibility” (10).
“Did you know that bees need a water source?” asks Laryssa, an artistic young Servas guest who at the time we met her kept bee hives on the roof of the building where she rented her apartment in Philadelphia. That winter, her bees froze to death; then she moved to Hawaii. She is a great source for bee information. August 17 was National Honeybee Day in the U.S. In recognition of the fact that bees are extremely necessary for us, here are some of Laryssa’s ideas to keep bees cool in the summer and ideas from others of what else we can do to help bees.
Laryssa says, “Bees gather water and bring it to the hive in order to cool it down. They don’t drink water because nectar is mostly water. When bees bring water to the hive, they spray it onto the frames in the hive. Other bees fan their wings. This essentially creates air conditioning that cools the hive. The baby bees are very sensitive to the temperature, so the hive cannot get too warm or too cold.
Alternative ways to create a water source for bees are wine corks floating in a container of water or just drape a towel over the side and let some of the towel touch the water. The problem with these bee water sources is that you’re creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so it can be tricky.
Or if you have a pool, you can put a small towel over the pool edge so that it slightly touches the water. Then the bees at least won’t drown trying to get to the water. They definitely do not want salt water, but they’ll take whatever they can find.
Here is what Carol Ann said recently on Nextdoor (a community web site):
“Bee Water Cooler!
Aloha All ~
After the first fire [we’ve had over 10,000 acres burn this summer on Maui], I noticed bees hovering around our pool. I learned that these bees are tasked with bringing water back to the hives. I rescued many from drowning as they fell into the pool. Unfortunately some also drown.
The ‘aina [Hawaiian term literally means ‘that which feeds’] is very dry now and thousands of acres have been destroyed by fires, so every day the numbers of thirsty bees are increasing.
I researched how best to provide bees with water (so I could stop playing lifeguard!).
Please consider providing our honey-making friends the water they need (and keep them from drowning in your pool). All you have to do is get a shallow pan (pictured here is a plastic pan used under potted plants), fill it with gravel and a few larger stones, add water and VOILA – you have a bee water cooler! The bees need to be able to stand on the gravel to drink, so don’t cover the stones all the way.
Carol Ann continued, “I set my Bee Water Cooler next to the corner of the pool where they were already drinking in an attempt to lure them away from this dangerous (for them) spot.
P.S. These bees are not aggressive and I have not been stung once.”
Bees land on Bob’s swimming suit when he hangs it out to dry.
Also a CNN story gives “Seven Simple Ways to Help Bees”. https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/17/us/national-honeybee-day-tips-save-bees-trnd/index.html
CNN reminds us, “People owe a lot to bees — namely, many of the foods we enjoy, like strawberries, avocados and broccoli. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that every 1 in 3 bites of food exists because of animal pollinators, and bees lead the charge.”
What each of us does matters – for the bees and more.
It’s likely a Bee Water Cooler would help bees where you live.
Do you have other good ideas to help bees? Please share them.
“Did you know that poor diets kill millions worldwide? Diets lacking whole grains and fruit and high in processed meats, trans fats and sugary drinks may be responsible for one-fifths of all deaths. That makes poor diet the biggest risk factor in the world.”
This conclusion is from a Global Burden of Disease study tracking dietary factors from 1990-2017 in 195 countries, conducted by researchers at Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, published in The Lancet. Seen in BottomLine Personal, July 15, 2019. p. 13.
A Maui News cartoon from: https://politicalcartoons.com/sku/226505/
The ingested plastic microfibers aren’t helping us.
Please choose wisely — what you eat, what you use . . .
Do you have tested health advice that has worked for you?
Reprinted from: Peace in Our Times – <peaceinourtimes.org> V5N2—Spring 2019, p. 17.
Sally, a 70+ year-old student in one of my Maui College English classes years ago, took my class for fun and then left in the middle of the semester to go backpacking by herself in Arizona – neither (leaving in the middle of the semester nor backpacking by herself) probably a good idea. Taking the English class, of course, was an excellent choice. Coming back in time to save her good grade, she was an inspiration then, and is a great model for us now.
In a recent FB message, Sally said:
“I am having more fun each day than in any previous time of my life. No worries, no obligations. Lots of music, lots of friends and family. Free to have whims. I try new things at restaurants. I reach out to people more than I did before. Objective reality says I am old, sick, and feeble, but I claim the identity of “I am young, strong, and healthy”. I don’t want to celebrate my 90th birthday next January because I am really only 21. 😀”
Go Sally, go.
And we don’t have to wait until we are 89 to act this way.
Go have some fun today whatever your age.
A note to Dr. Kris, the Garden Doctor:
‘Hi, I read about the $289 million court case and the glyphosate Roundup, what are the best ways to kill weeds without weed killer? Seems you just can’t stop the weeds in the tropics, just in the home garden and around the paths. Please help.
Thank you in advance. Lucas, UBUD.’
In August, a US Court ordered global chemical giant Monsanto pay $US 289 million to a former school gardener who is dying of cancer, after a jury in California found Roundup (which contains glyphosate) contributed to his illness. They will be appealing of course.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency, the IARC, stated that glyphosate is likely carcinogenic, yet just last year the European Union decided to renew the licence for the official use of glyphosate. In the aftermath of the US court case, Monsanto has maintained that its product was an “effective and safe tool for farmers and others”. Hmmm?
The result of the recent court case and linkages to glyphosate came as no surprise to many.
I wrote an article on the dangers of gylphosate in 2015, which can be found at – www.baliadvertiser.biz/glyphosate/.
Unfortunately, many are still in the dark to the undeniable dangers. Scientific evidence has shown that glyphosate can cause or accelerate cancer rates. People are spraying it around the environment and it is all over your food. Despite the fact that the dangers of Roundup are gradually becoming well-known, uncovered and exposed by various segments of the community – it still remains in heavy use around the world.
Many are still unaware of the serious health issues attributed to glyphosate, although it has been banned in many places around the world.
Roundup in conjunction with science has given rise to a global industry of genetically modified food. GM food crops like corn and soybean have been designed with glyphosate resistance in mind. Fields are sprayed, weeds controlled and at the same time the crop is left standing. It simplifies farming and weed control in exchange for food covered with Roundup. People are also wholesale spraying it around the garden, and local governments around their parklands and public green spaces too.
Interestingly, after sitting on the data from its glyphosate tests for more than a year, the FDA recently or rather finally made the results public. Tests found glyphosate on 63 percent of corn samples and 67 percent of soybean samples. As a further note of interest there were no oat or wheat samples, the two main crops where glyphosate is used as a pre-harvest drying agent, resulting in glyphosate contamination of foods.
The reported health risks associated with glyphosate exposure has farmers, groundskeepers and gardeners scrambling to find alternatives. Glyphosate is so widely used that traces of the of it have been found in breast milk, beer, wine (even when made with organic grapes), eggs, oatmeal and non-dairy coffee creamer, among other products.
There are also environmental impacts on groundwater, rivers, streams, and oceans, glyphosate has even been detected in rainfall samples. Then there’s the issue of poisons in the food chain.
For the home gardener the best alternatives are to pull the weeds, or if it’s a larger area dig out the entire garden bed, turn the soil and start again. If you spray Roundup everywhere you’ll still have to pull the dead weeds out in the end anyway. Mulch garden beds regularly or grow creeping groundcovers. Mulch with cardboard, newspaper, leaves, straw, wood chips, pebbles, stones etc. Use a sharp hoe, garden fork, or shovel to hand weed, or go for the more permanent solution of installing a weed suppressant membrane.
Manual removal with a shovel, hoe or other tool is an effective spot treatment for most weeds. They may come back and need to be dug out again. When young weeds are caught early and thoroughly dug out, they won’t be able to re-seed and rapidly reproduce.
Experiment with dense ground covers which can naturally prevent weeds from growing underneath. Get creative and use dense low growing flowers or even herbs as ground cover. Culinary herbs such as parsley, mint, thyme or oregano are useful choices which can effectively form a carpet around the base of plants in sparse garden beds. If you’re battling weeds in your lawn, make sure you use grass varieties appropriate for shade, drought or other difficult areas where a conventional lawn might not grow well.
For weeds growing in pavement and cracks, boiling water poured straight from the kettle usually does the job. For any other general weed killing areas using commercial strength vinegar is a proven effective. Commercial grade would normally come with an acetic acid concentration of 20% strength. Normal household vinegar at 5-10% will usually do the job on smaller weeds, but for an effective job on larger hardier ones you’ll need a commercial grade vinegar at around 20% min.
The vinegar will probably be more effective on a hot sunny day. It biodegrades easily, effectively a non-toxic approach to spot killing weeds in opposition to commercial, synthetic and chemical formulas. Vinegar still always needs to be handled with care, so avoid inhaling it or getting it in your eyes. Don’t stand on the wrong side of the wind!
In addition to avoiding toxic sprays, by growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs you will be feeding yourself with the healthiest produce possible free of potential toxins. Buying organic or growing your own is always going to be the best choice when it comes to your food and avoiding toxic chemicals.
Key findings of an Investigative Report into pesticides and produce from EWG (source: www.ewg.org) found that:
- The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
- A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
- Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides a piece.
It was reported in August 2018 that tests commissioned by EWG found glyphosate residues on many popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars. Almost three-fourths of the 45 samples tested had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health within an adequate margin of safety.
All you need to know is that glyphosate has been linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization.
Copyright © 2018 Dr. Kris
You can read all past articles of Garden Doctor at www.BaliAdvertiser.biz
The small book by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles shares advice from the residents of the Japanese village with the highest percentage of 100-year-olds in the world. In addition to the wisdom about purposeful, active, shared lives of these seniors, the authors note the importance of the Japanese concepts of wabi-sabi and ichi-go ichi-e.
“Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept that shows us the beauty of the fleeting, changeable, and imperfect nature of the world around us. Instead of searching for beauty in perfection, we should look for it things that are flawed, incomplete.
This is why the Japanese place such value, for example, on an irregular or cracked teacup. Only things that are imperfect, incomplete, and ephemeral can truly be beautiful, because only those things resemble the natural world.
A complementary Japanese concept is that of ichi-go ichi-e, which could be translated as ‘This moment exists only now and won’t come again.’ It is heard most often in social gatherings as a reminder that each encounter –whether with friends, family, or strangers–is unique and will never be repeated, meaning that we should enjoy the moment and not lose ourselves in worries about the past or the future.
The concept is commonly used in tea ceremonies, Zen meditation, and Japanese martial arts, all of which place emphasis on being present in the moment.
In the West, we’ve grown accustomed to the permanence of the stone buildings and cathedrals of Europe, which sometimes gives us the sense that nothing changes, making us forget about the passage of time. Greco-Roman architecture adores symmetry, sharp lines, imposing facades, and buildings and statues of the gods that outlast the centuries.
Japanese architecture, on the other hand, doesn’t try to be imposing or perfect, because it is built in the spirit of wabi-sabi. The tradition of making structures out of wood presupposes their impermanence and the need for future generations to rebuild them. Japanese culture accepts the fleeting nature of the human being and everything we create.
The Grand Shrine of Ise, for example, has been rebuilt every twenty years for centuries. The most important thing is not to keep the building standing for generations, but to preserve customs and traditions–things that can withstand the passage of time better than structures made by human hands.
The key is to accept that there are certain things over which we have no control, like the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of the world around us.
Ichi-go ichi-e teaches us to focus on the present and enjoy each moment that life brings us. This is why it is so important to find and pursue our ikigai [a meaning and purpose in life that keeps you busy or as the New York Post says, “ ikigai is the art of doing something—and doing it with supreme focus and joy”].
Wabi-sabi teaches us to appreciate the beauty of imperfection as an opportunity for growth” . . .
One step in lasting longer and being happier in your life is –
“Get rid of the things that make you fragile . . .
Ask yourself: What makes me fragile? Certain people, things, and habits generate losses for us and make us vulnerable. Who and what are they?
When we make our New Year’s resolutions, we tend to emphasize adding new challenges to our lives. It’s great to have this kind of objective, but setting ‘good riddance’ goals can have an even bigger impact. For example:
- Stop snacking between meals
- Eat sweets only once a week
- Gradually pay off all debt
- Avoid spending time with toxic people
- Avoid spending time doing things we don’t enjoy, simply because we feel obligated to do them
- Spend no more than twenty minutes on Facebook per day.
To build resilience into our lives, we shouldn’t fear adversity, because each setback is an opportunity for growth. If we adopt an antifragile attitude, we’ll find a way to get stronger with every blow, refining our lifestyle and staying focused on our ikigai.
Taking a hit or two can be viewed as either a misfortune or an experience that we can apply to all areas of our lives, as we continually make corrections and set new and better goals. As Taleb writes in Antifragile, ‘We need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near traumatic episodes, all these things that make life worth living.’ . . .
Life is pure imperfection, as the philosophy of wabi-sabi teaches us, and the passage of time shows us that everything is fleeting, but if you have a clear sense of your ikigai, each moment will hold so many possibilities that it will seem almost like an eternity” (p. 172-179).
No matter your age, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life is likely to give you useful ideas on how to lead a good life.