Commuting and office work in the time of Covid

After nearly a year of working from home, 10 days ago I started that commute back to an office environment at the hospital. Rapid-fire emergent findings, compounded by active misinformation and sabotage by the trump administration, and now these variants(!) make it very difficult for the average office worker to make sense of how best to protect ourselves. So here I talk about what I use and what's recommended: masks (always outside the home), goggles (for public transport, grocery store runs, or other crowded spaces), fans (to maintain air flow in the office) and, if needed, a portable air cleaner with HEPA filter for the workspace. My commute is in the NYC subways where that 'rush hour' is still fairly crowded. In this age of … [Read more...]

Until Covid-19 messaging improves, who do you turn to?

It's February tomorrow - a snow day here, yey!! - and over a full year into this pandemic. It's frustrating that to manage every new situation, the general public still has to scour Twitter for a prevailing consensus. We don’t have better guidance on masks (like what type and where to get them) and managing risky situations like public transportation. I fully agree with this piece in the NYTimes: It's been ten months, and I still don't know when to replace my masks! "Quickly synthesizing emerging evidence and providing practical guidance for the public and communicating it well is what the C.D.C. should be doing, and should have been doing. The new administration seems to have hit the ground running, and I hope that this is what it will … [Read more...]

Pandemic winter activities

It's the holly jolly season year 2020 and we're looking for things we can do safely, outside the house. In NYS/NYC we're thankfully not seeing the catastrophic surge that the rest of the country is now reeling from. But we're seeing spikes across indicators (indoor activities will be restricted in NYC in a few days). And the vaccine rollout seems to agitate everyone into increasingly careless behavior. It's like we're in limbo - help's on the way, but there are so many caveats and really we're still in the throes of incompetence until that stupid buffoon is dragged kicking and screaming out of the White House. With all the mediocre-white-guy stupidity within the GOP my diet has often been reduced to late night popcorn and bubbly. So … [Read more...]

Mourning in the time of Covid

The kids had a sweet Grandma. She pushed her comfort zone to hang with us - she got on that 30-hour trip to Bangkok for our first kid and tried everything (durian, street foods, even a tuk-tuk ride straight out of the movie Ong Bak!). She always had a thoughtful gesture - I'd forget my own birthday and anniversary if it weren't for her cards. And she loved our friends. She was always there. … [Read more...]

Working with the upsides of this crisis

When we transitioned back to the US five years ago I thought turbulence was the new normal, given all the changes in healthcare (mergers, acquisitions, hospital closings and new value-based arrangements that lead to all sorts of complex partnerships). There was a lot of restructuring in the sector and especially in the public hospital system where I worked. But that pace of change pales compared to this 2020 pandemic. It's now eight weeks into "New York on Pause" (our lockdown). We're patiently waiting, yet aware that nothing will be "normal" again soon, if ever. It's easy to descend into existential despondency at the state of the US (abysmal levels of incompetence and obstruction from the White House, anti-Asian discrimination … [Read more...]