EDIT / ACPHD’s website data is incorrect.

EDIT 2 / First, the ACPHD suddenly hid the download page from the public last summer—we asked them several times for it, and nada. City gave me the link today. So I’ve compared the data the ACPHD publishes on their website to the data in the download. Two very different data sets. And even the downloaded data changes over time; so there’s no reliable data in real time apparently. Assuming the download is the correct data, we know this: 7-day average of daily-cases is down to 21, down from the 40s earlier this month, which is great news and means this month will likely be 800+ cases, not 1,000+ cases. Fingers crossed! December’s total cases are 668 to date. Sadly, deaths at one SNF is up to 17 as of yesterday. :^(


Why is the city publishing inaccurate COVID-19 case data and suggesting we’re doing better….when we are anything but?

Here’s the (shockingly inaccurate) Saturday, 1/22/21, post on facebook by City of Alameda – Local Government which states our COVID-19 case rates have begun “to stabilize” and suggests business restrictions will soon be relaxing. Huh? Where are they getting their data from? It’s not from ACPHD.

I collect daily case data from ACPHD for the City of Alameda. Below our my charts using ACPHD’s data as of 1/22/2021 [ACPHD’s last date in which ACPHD updated their total case data for the City of Alameda]:

7-day average of daily cases is at 31. In the last two weeks it’s consistently between between 28 and 40.

Here’s our daily case rate. Compare to what the city posted and stated. 19 is our lowest–there is no day with only 12 cases), and there is no day with over 60 cases.

And here’s our monthly totals….January is twice as bad as December (which was our worst month last year):

With our 7-day daily-average at 31, we’ll be topping 1,000 cases by the end of the month. Shockingly different than what the city posts on facebook and on our city website here.

Here’s what the city’s publishing for the monthly totals updated on 1/21/2021:

Why is the city publishing inaccurate COVID-19 case data and suggesting we’re doing better and heading towards reopening?!


We are not slowing the pandemic down.

Today, the 7-day average for new daily COVID-19 cases for the City of Alameda is at 34. With 11 more days in the month and at this rate, we will reach 1,043 cases for the month of January, just about double the case count for December 2020.

The data is derived from ACPHD’s [Alameda County Public Health Department] daily total cases for the City of Alameda.


Total COVID-19 cases in the City of Alameda /

539 December 1 – 31, 2020

561 January 1 – 17, 2021

Our 7-day COVID-19 daily-cases average has spiked to 40. This means we’ll likely breach 1,000 cases for the month of January, potentially breach 1,100 cases, doubling or more December’s total cases.

For whatever reason, the City of Alameda’s COVID-19 data page is only updated once per week and quite often it’s wrong. Its last update was on 1/15/21 and stated under 400 cases for 1/1 – 1/15/2021 when the ACPHD reported far higher numbers, about 100 cases more. The reported cases for those dates was 496. The lower numbers reported by our city lead one to infer that January isn’t much worse than December when it’s far, far worse; twice as bad in fact.

ACPDH stopped reporting on Positivity at all and by zip codes but I have this past data:

December 4, 2020 /

1.7 94501

1.4 94502

January 12, 2021 /

2.9 94501

1.9 94502

The pandemic in the City of Alameda

463 Total cases for the past 14 days, 1/1 – 2/14/2021

39 7-day average for daily new cases

(Which means we’re likely to pass 1,000 cases for the month of January, possibly more than doubling December.)

Note: ACPHD stopped publishing Positivity for the City of Alameda, after this ratio climbed to 2.9. (Why? they give us so little data to begin with…)

This chart is created from ACPHD [Alameda County Public Health Department) data here. ACPHD publishes total cases for our city and each of our two zip codes. I collect that data and make charts that actually give us something to know.

6′ isn’t enough distancing

“…SARS fomites remain active for about three hours while suspended in air or gas… coronavirus-bearing droplets of all sizes can travel 23 to 27 feet from their host after emission….turbulent gas clouds and respiratory pathogen emissions pose a threat to the public even without the presence of a host. In other words: the longer an individual is outside unprotected, the higher the contraction risk.”

MIT researcher says the 6-feet social distancing rule isn’t enough to flatten the curve

Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions, Potential Implications for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19

Either #WearAFuckingMask or #StayTheFuckHome

Alameda is pretty much a total fail here, so few wear masks when out. This needs to change. EVERYONE SHOULD WEAR A MASK WHEN OUTDOORS.

Hell, yesterday I saw a maskless adult walk directly up to a child crouched on the sidewalk [completely unaware of the adult while doing chalk-drawings] and step OVER her.  WTAF people.



Stop-work orders for all mow/blow teams

If you have mow/blow teams for your home or rental properties, during the Shelter-in-Place order, mow-blow teams are not allowed.
If you have them and haven’t cancelled them, please do for the duration of the ACHPD Shelter-in-Place Order which, for right now, is until May 4, 2020.
The ACPHD order is here. Excerpt:
xii. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation, and operation of residences and Essential Businesses, but not for cosmetic or other purposes;
xiii. Arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals, but only to the limited extent necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, operation of businesses or residences, or the safety of residents, employees, or the public (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition), and not for cosmetic or other purposes (such as upkeep); 

Open Source COVID-19 medical supplies for the win!

Serious win-win.
I follow open source COVID-19 medical supply groups who use 3D printers and laser cutters to make medical half-face masks and full-face shields. I mentioned the extraordinary work being done, designs being tested for hospitals, and a wonderful and wonderfully smart human being in Santa Barbara immediately thought: why don’t we put these machines in our hospitals and staff them for PPEs stock and on-demand.
I put her in touch with an engineer in NYC who wanted to discuss this. They had a good conversation.
She put in several calls to her local Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, finally got to the right person who understood her ideas and the technology; that person reached out to the hospital’s partner, the Engineering Department at UCSB.
What happened: the head of UCSB engineering advised what machines and supplies would work for the hospital’s needed designs and production therefor; she bought the machines and supplies for the hospital. The engineering department has the machines and the engineering/staff/volunteers to man the machines and produce what the hospital needs.
My friend’s words: “…every community needs to have their citizens contribute to the cause. It is like a war effort. Small communities especially will not be on the government’s radar, they need to take charge and prepare on their own. Personal and community empowerment are our strongest defenses.”
I was literally i tears when I read her update today, totally verklempt. This is how it’s done people. Read the horrible facts about this virus, know them, and if you aren’t one of the people who personally solve for them, follow those who are, keep the conversation going, and create meaningful discussions around it.  You never know who can get what done.
Networking works! [my friend Bob’s mantra that I adopted years ago, founder, LinkSV.]

30% of #COVID19 cases are asymptomatic and contagious–protect others, protect yourself. WEAR A MASK.

30% of #COVID19 cases are asymptomatic and contagious. This we know.
If 100% of the population wears masks when out, then the 30% of the population that is asymptomatic and contagious will *not* be actively spreading the virus, protecting the other 70%, and the community spread of the virus will plummet. This is what Asian countries know.
America: WAKE UP. WEAR A MASK. Don’t buy what the medical teams need, make your own! Plenty of info online about that. Protect others, protect yourself, and slow the viral community spread. Now. Please.
There are two things we can do ourselves to stop the community spread of SARS-CoV-2.:
1) protect others by wearing any mask at all and washing hands, and
2) protect ourselves through safe behavior, wearing a medical or N99+ [P99 or P100] mask, washing hands, social distance, keeping the things we bring into our home and cars sanitized, keep our home and cars sanitized.
IF you own a medical plain or N99/P100 mask, there’s one way you can sanitize it for re-use (you cannot wash it or spray it with sanitizer, that will degrade the weave and no longer protect you): https://corporate.dukehealth.org/news-listing/duke-starts-novel-decontamination-n95-masks-help-relieve-shortages?fbclid=IwAR2beYnTUZEHN3KcdtSXtT5wafl8H-Gr9uzu0ySntomnuGSB6MYnAS5VF0w
Although a 3M mask is best, few of us have those. A homemade mask will prevent droplets from leaving your mouth and landing, for example, on produce in the grocery store, or the touchpad for check out, etc., etc. Source: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness/article/testing-the-efficacy-of-homemade-masks-would-they-protect-in-an-influenza-pandemic/0921A05A69A9419C862FA2F35F819D55?fbclid=IwAR2Tzc7af_vcOzRy9hDk7IU3OXx3hG7La_6iQSb0LpPK9GdPluCAm79Hglw
If you need to make a mask, be sure to custom fit it tight to your face and consider this information: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/?fbclid=IwAR24Kz18-YLYBfdvDuLrkP76DH37sOF6lwywYjvFobDML1pnvmO0Ut1D2u8

Make a mask. Wear it. #COVID-19

“Lower-grade or homemade masks are being used at many hospitals in non-COVID-19 cases to free up medical-grade masks for doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients. Homemade masks can also be used in conjunction with other masks to prolong the life of medical-grade masks, and can be washed for reuse. Some hospital staff are even sewing their own masks. By providing homemade masks to hospitals in dire need, we can help extend the current supply of medical-grade protective gear where it is needed most until additional resources become available.”
Here are a few mask kits and tutorials.
*See at the bottom of this post about fabrics to use, from a textile expert.**
I haven’t found a pattern for what I think works best: fabric reusable mask with tie-on (not elastic loops) with the pocket for a HEPA or MERV13 (or MERV14) filter [gotten from vacuum cleaner bags and FAU filter], with some kind of metal sewn into the top [paper clip?] for fitting around the bridge of the nose. The closet thing to that is this: https://media.rainpos.com/4868/pattern_2_pins_needles.pdf
Fabric masks will slow SARS-CoV-2 droplet spread (but minimal protection on the aerosol spread). This mask is useful for hospital staff–yes, they know how to allocate this so they can free up N95s for staff. And this is the mask 100% of regular people out and about should be wearing—to protect 100% of the population from the 30% contagious and asymptomatic.
Fabric masks with HEPA or MERV13 inserts will slow both SARS-CoV-2 droplet and aerosol spread and offer some protection from aerosol spread in the air when it’s fitted tightly around the face. This would be more useful in a hospital setting or if you are someone at risk and need to go out of your home.
**Anyone sewing masks in Alameda city, can drop them off on my porch and the nurse across the street from us will take them to the Sutter hospital where she works**
JoAnn Fabrics will give you kits to make masks: https://www.joann.com/make-to-give-response
Tieks will give your credit towards shoes for having made and donating them: https://tieks.com/sewtogether
MASK MATERIALS MATTER – Revision 1 (re: polyester outermost layer)
If you plan to make DIY facemasks for the COVID-19 crisis, good on you!
It appears that many sites have mask design covered. Make your work count by carefully choosing the materials you use. Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets when you launder your final product (see below).
Fair warning: I am a textile scientist with primary expertise in military protective clothing and equipment. I’ve been reading the DIY facemask posts, and I keep wishing someone from the medical textile field would weigh in. Until someone like that does, I offer the following info under “Good Samaritan” rules. I desire and invite immediate corrections!
It appears that the 3-layers of a typical, disposable surgical mask are made of “melt-blown” fabrics. “Melt-blown” fabrics are not the woven or knitted structures in, say, t-shirts and jeans; they are more like paper maiche. Instead of strips of paper stuck together with whey to form a sheet, very thin plastic filaments are stuck *to each other* (thanks Pete Kant!) to form a sheet. The complex layering and overlapping of these thin plastic filaments creates a thicket-like maze that can trap particles. Handy visualizations of melt-blown fabrics are cotton candy and the very cheapest HVAC air filters.
The thin plastic filaments in typical disposable facemasks are a polymer called polypropylene. Polypropylene has two great properties for repelling viruses: it is negatively charged, and it is water-repellent. Now, viruses need water to remain viable, and are also negatively charged. As you recall from 5th grade science class, negative repels negative. Thus, the negatively-charged polypropylene molecule will repel the negatively-charged virus, and because polypropylene also repels water, the virus is denied the moisture it needs to be viable. Ta-da! Yay for polypropylene!
It appears that there may be three separate types of polypropylene fabrics in the facemask: a breathable type for next to mouth, a microfiber filtering type in the middle, and a barrier type on the side facing the world.
The issue for DIYers is that you can’t just go down to your neighborhood fabric store and ask for 10-yards of these three types of melt-blown polypropylene fabric. The closest melt-blown fabric in fabric stores is a product called “interfacing” (e.g., Pellon) which is made of polyester. Fortunately, polyester also repels water, and is also negatively charged – just not as negative as polypropylene. Only the non-fusible kind (i.e., without glue on the back) might do as a substitute but the risk is that the fiber size in interfacing is not micro (no reason for it to be), and the voids between large fibers would allow virus laden particulate to get through. if one made masks using polyester interfacing it would be a lot of a lot of work for something that might not be an effective filter, and would have to be thrown away after one wearing! And interfacing with a smooth texture (similar to the facemask polypropylene) is pretty pricey.
There are many posts on this site that competently re-create the disposable pleated mask design; I believe that a 3-layer, re-useable design (a pleated cloth pocket into which a disposable filter inserted) offers the best balance of DIY effort and practical medical protection. See www.mustsharenews.com “Taiwanese Doctor Recommends DIY Cloth Face Mask with Air Filter” for a good description. I recommend specific materials for a re-useable mask below based on what I have learned (above) about what is used in typical disposable 3-layer surgical/medical masks. For all our sakes, I would love any corrections from a true expert.
Outermost layer: microfiber, soft, woven polyester made of textured yarn (do not have a shiny, stiff appearance, and that that look and feel like cotton).
I had previously suggested a particular cottony feeling shower curtain liner (not vinyl or PEVA sheeting) with a dimpled surface texture. I suggested it because I have one on hand and could vouch that is comfortable to wear against my face is:
“Barossa Design Soft Light-Weight Microfiber Fabric Shower Liner or Curtain with Embossed Dots, Hotel Quality, Machine Washable, Water Repellent, White, 70 x 72 inches” $10.99
But since I first posted, some folks have suggested polyester microfiber bed sheets as this layer. i don’t have any on hand, but the more I think about it, the more I agree that those are likley to be the better go-to fabric for the outermost layer. Bedding has to be breathable by definition :to sell well. Look for “brushed microfiber” polyester. Ignore the thread counts – those have become too hard to interpret to be meaningful.
Why: Negatively-charged and water-repellent; polyester yarns that are textured to feel cottony (brushed) are likely to be more breathable as well.
Disposable filtration layer: Swiffer-type heavy-duty sweeper refills, unscented
Why: Easy for medical personnel to find and cut up as replacement filter layer; designed as particle trapper, and just might be made of polypropylene
Next to nose/mouth layer: Ummm…. I’m on the fence here. Either cotton flannel, OR another layer of the brushed polyester microfiber
Why cotton: Cotton is porous, which makes it more comfortable for breathing. Also, because cotton is positively charged, the negatively charged virus exiting the wearer’s mouth or nose will be attracted to the cotton molecule and not migrate through the mask to the outside where it can infect others. Also, because cotton is absorbent, it will pull the moisture out of the virus, causing it to “die” faster. Note, however, that when cotton gets wet and stays wet, it becomes more abrasive to the skin. This may mean someone with a sweaty face will have to change a cotton-lined mask more often to stay comfortable.
Why flannel: Studies shows that pile fabric structures (e.g., terry cloth) are more
effective at trapping virus. Flannel, while not as thick a pile as terry cloth, may be more practical for facemasks by decreasing bulk and heat-buildup.
Why polyester: Reduce manufacturing time (the re-useable pocket can be one folded structure) and reduce trouble in finding and keeping different materials on hand; also, might be comfortable more for long-term wear for someone with a sweaty face by avoiding the wet abrasion of cotton.
Why dimpled: While not a pile, the stand-off of dimpling increases the distance a virus has to travel to escape the mask and also provides more surface area to trap virus particles; also the stand-off of dimpling increases next-to-skin comfort and breathability by not contiguously touching the skin.
Last suggestions: –
Consider making the outer layer a different color than the inner layer so the wearer doesn’t have to think about which side goes toward the face. Heed the suggstion from one member to choose light colors so that stains are more visible.
Wash cotton before cutting/sewing to preshrink.
I had previoulsy advised to wash your finished facemask before shipping. Members are saying that the hospitals will do this on their end. If you do choose to launder, do NOT use fabric softeners or dryer sheets as they impart a positive charge to fabrics which will be a virus attractant for the outermost surface.

Is that steak from a cow or a steer? Why it matters..

PSA: Trader Joes grass-fed steaks are cow, not steer (but at steer prices (!). Bought one the other night bc we were out of town at friends who only shop there, and discovered this when I put a rather pricey steak onto the outdoor grill where it became obvious it was cow; on the plate ditto.

1) Cow requires a different cooking method. You know how a good steak will sear up tight on the outside with a nice glazed surface and tender on the inside? Where you can gauge the doneness buy pressing on it? Cow doesn’t do this; it remains soft on the outside, never tightens up on the outside, and you cannot press it to determine doneness, it takes forever for the inside to be not-raw. The meat remains completely flexible and never sears up on the outside.

2) Cow tastes very different from steak.

There’s nothing wrong with eating/cooking cow, it just seems to me that as consumers we should a) know we are buying cow so we can use the right cooking method and dish prep for the meat and b) pay cow, i.e., lower and appropriate, prices (not steer/higher prices). TJ’s isn’t the only one doing this; it’s an industry thing to conceal this. It began with those cheaper steak house restaurants in the 1970s; cheap steaks = cow; no one knew except ranchers, and most Americans thought those steak restaurants were awesome. Worse: there is just about no one in the beef industry who will tell you whether they are selling cow or steer (including the Berkeley Bowl) except local ranch butcheries and the mis-named online purveyor Crowd Cow who only sells steer.

This includes Whole Foods. About 10 years ago, I paid bank for a steak at Whole Foods Market, tossed it on the grill for a fancy dinner at home, and the piece of meat was really really not having it, and when i finally got the meat to the table, the taste was not even close to what worked…this ruined the dinner. The “steak” should have been cooked up in a stew and has no business on a grill. Also, I suspect meats on sale have a higher probability of being cow as when i’ve purchased anything on sale, years ago, it was cow. I stopped buying meat from Whole Foods a decade ago because of this and because the people behind their meat counters are not butchers (they can’t prep any meat or chicken correctly to save their own lives).

So FYI y’all. Bummer about TJs joining this–but then I never buy meat there, so I cannot say whether this is a recent development or not. I just know that the are selling cow in their not-cheap grass-fed steaks.