Weekly Roundup, Friday 27 March 2020

An unusually large potato? Or a distinctive hotel in Idaho? Airbnb are looking for unusual accommodation choices to feature and fund. See comments, below.


Good morning

It has been another stunningly intense week for me.  My Covid-19 diary is proceeding at full speed with usually quite lengthy daily entries, and I’ve written more and researched more this week than any previous week in the 20 years I’ve been doing this.

This has been exhausting in every respect, and I was even starting to wonder if I was coming down with the dread virus myself.  Just in the nick of time, on Thursday, I received a care package of very high manuka-factor honey from a truly kind reader.  It has some virucidal properties, and so I’m gulping that “just in case”.  More possible aids are en route from various parts of the world to supplement the honey, too!

My goal with my daily diary entries is to cut through the confusion of articles and agendas and give you the best possible information and commentary so you can feel better informed and less at sea in this flood of data.  I hope you find some of the material useful, some of it educational and informative, and maybe even, some of it upbeat and encouraging.

Much of the time, I’ve been sharing the tremendously puzzled feelings I have.  I really can not decide how impactful and deadly the Covid-19 virus pandemic will be.  Might it truly infect every one, as per some suggestions?  Might millions of Americans die, and many more millions in other countries?  Or will we lose fewer than 100,000 people?  Will it start to get better in two weeks, two months, or two years?

I’ve seen credible articles from “experts” and “authorities” advocating all of the above scenarios, and every other scenario in the middle (or even more extreme).

But I’m also starting to see a few rays of sunshine possibly poking through the clouds.  Is the light at the end of the tunnel an oncoming express train or is it indeed daylight?  I cover several positive points in Thursday’s diary entry, below.

I’m not going to attach all seven entries that I’ve added the last week, but I’ll add the most recent one and here are links to the last week of articles (or click the link at the bottom of each diary entry to access the full listing).

Thursday 26th (also at the bottom of today’s newsletter)

Wednesday 25th

Tuesday 24th

Monday 23rd

Sunday 22nd

Saturday 21st

Friday 20th

(Earlier entries from this page)

I have very little left for the “regular” newsletter today, and I don’t think many of us feel like planning an exciting fun-filled foreign trip somewhere this week, anyway.  Domestic air travel this week is running at about 1/7th the level of what it was last week, and I don’t know exactly, but I’ll guess that international air travel is so far down as to be almost at zero.  Other than for ex-pats returning home, where in the world can we travel these days?  So many countries are closed, with the ultimate irony being China on Thursday closed its borders to visitors from other countries.

China has ostensibly transitioned from the poster-child for the dangers of Covid-19 to now being the poster-child for how it can be successfully combatted and vanquished.  Almost all their very low level of new cases are now in the form of people coming to China from other countries, so they’ve decided to catch up and copy the rest of the world, and are now forbidding foreigners from entry.

A similar unexpected situation is where our southern border is being greatly strengthened by Mexico, now seeking to restrict Americans from visiting Mexico.  We have 86,000 cases (more than any other country, more even than China discloses) and increasing by as many as 15,000 new cases a day; Mexico has 585 and increasing by something like 110 cases a day.

But I do have an idea for a new and relatively safe way of traveling within the US – and no, it isn’t a “virtual” vacation – ie a videotape and some comfort food while on your couch.  I hope to write about this concept in the next week or two; for now, the concept of recreational travel is elusive for many of us – either our own state has banned it or the states we might need to travel through or to have banned it.  And even if not banned, it seems foolhardy to ignore the social distancing guidelines.  For now, it is best to stay close to home.

Just a couple of very quick pieces below so you know I’m still out here.

The opening picture relates to an Airbnb promotion to find and help finance the most unconventional of living spaces.  They’ve set aside $1 million to be shared among ten recipients who have submitted winning proposals to build unusual living spaces.

It’s a great idea, but we doubt that a $100,000 grant will go far when creating a truly distinctive and unusual living space.  But at a time when few of us are thinking about Airbnb, it is a cheap bit of positive publicity.  Details here.

The new Boeing CEO is proving to be somewhat maladroit when it comes to public statements.  After asking the government for $60 billion in aid to be shared between itself and its suppliers, Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, is now saying he doesn’t want any strings to be attached to the government aid, and if the government offer isn’t good enough, he’ll refuse it because he can get the funding he needs elsewhere, besides which, Boeing currently has $15 billion in the bank.

Ouch!  Apparently, if your name is Boeing, then beggars are not really beggars at all, and also truly can be choosers.  Details here.

The coronavirus has of course had a huge impact on airlines, and almost none of it good.  But we’ve seen a couple of interesting flights.  Here’s one – because it can’t now stop in Singapore for refueling, Qantas is now making nonstop flights between Darwin and London (it has already been doing Perth to London for some time).  This was only for a short while before suspending its marquee QF1/2 flights between Sydney and London entirely.

I’m trying to keep the regular newsletter as free as possible of direct coronavirus articles, but this one is important.  It shows you just how far breathing and coughing travels, and also shows the dismayingly minor impact of regular masks.


Who says there’s no such thing as karma….. The “influencer” who licked a toilet as a ‘coronavirus challenge’ has just been hospitalised with coronavirus.  And the Spring Break partiers in Florida – they’re now suffering coronavirus infections, too.  And this 21 yr old girl who boasted of not worrying she might get the virus.

Lastly this week, a group of now unemployed, ummm, “dancers”, have decided to display their “talents” in a new way during these hard times – by operating a food delivery service.  Its name rhymes with “Uber Eats” except there’s a “B” to be added somewhere….  Details, and, alas, photos too, here.

Okay, perhaps we can come up with something better to end this abridged newsletter, and something unrelated to the “c” word.  Here’s a fun bit of trivia for you – the fascinating journey to finding the answer of why a Triscuit is called a Triscuit.

Until next week, please be safe and well, and if you’ve time hanging heavily on your hands, please consider the daily





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