# 700 Days Later

Since my last update we hit another set of COVID milestones here in Portugal, so I guess it’s time for another post. We’re now two years into the pandemic and hitting record numbers of cases every day, but we also have more evidence that both exponentials and vaccination ought to be better understood…

This series began after the start of the pandemic and has had irregular updates , , , , , , , , , , and days later.

On a personal level, things are “fine”. Yes, like the GIF.

Everyone in the family has the requisite amount of shots (I had my booster a couple of weeks ago, which was pretty uneventful other than feeling a little tired in the evening) and we haven’t been infected yet, but right now Omicron is pretty much everywhere.

And like I pointed out last month, things have gone exponential very quickly indeed as COVID evolves towards becoming endemic, but not harmless.

## So Where Are We At Then?

Here’s my usual normalized chart, which I prefer for long-term comparisons:

As you can see, the number of cases skyrocketed even beyond my most pessimistic expectations (we’re now at three times the maximum previously recorded in Portugal last year), but (fortunately) deaths have barely had an uptick.

## On Testing and Age Breakdowns

But there’s also something that isn’t on the chart, and for which there is no real data, just a lot of complaints: We’ve apparently hit a plateau of sorts in testing capacity, since it’s been pretty much impossible to schedule a test overnight (PCRs sometimes take days to schedule).

That has an impact in terms of when cases are accounted for officially (which means figures may be lagging up to a week behind…), and since we can only measure things that are recorded, well… We might be looking at a lot more unaccounted for cases here.

Either way, schools are a bit of a mess right now. Even though my kids are both vaccinated we have reports of cases in their classes nearly every day, and the numbers clearly show it:

It makes sense because young kids haven’t been vaccinated and it is impossible to fully segregate age groups in large schools, but it is still a concern when your kids’ grandparents are involved.

So we crack open a new set of test kits every few days, but these are becoming quite thin on the ground, worse quality, and higher cost as scalpers cotton on to making easy money from buying them in bulk and marking them up for 50-70% profit.

The upside here (for now) is that Omicron’s mildness and extensive vaccination means its rampant infectiousness hasn’t translated into a massive amount of hospital admissions (or deaths):

…but I’m still worried about “long COVID” and the likelihood of elderly people developing immediate (or belated) serious symptoms, and that we’re not taking things seriously enough in schools.

Besides the natural pressure for restrictions to be relaxed permanently due to people having spent two years cooped up, another worry I could do without is that we’re a week away from elections–and a lot of fuss was made about infected people having to vote, with dismal handling of the issue all around.

So I don’t expect case numbers to go down just yet, even if they’re not the key figure anymore (well, provided there are no new variants…).

# Going to Go

Although I haven’t coded for work for a long time and have inexorably gravitated towards technology practice management, I’ve been thinking about what to use for rebuilding a set of personal projects (including this site) and tackling a few new ones.

# Gemini

I stumbled upon the gemini:// protocol the other day, and went down that particular rabbit hole over the weekend so you wouldn’t have to (although I might actually recommend it).

# Notable Media of 2021

The Expanse’s final episode aired yesterday and it was a great end to a decent week, so I decided to do a reprise of ’s take on the stuff that struck my fancy throughout the intervening year, even if there’s a little less to write about this time.

# Early January Checkpoint

Been back at work for a week and am actually not terribly excited about it. In fact, the running joke bouncing listlessly from neuron to neuron is that it took me most of the week to wade through enough notes and e-mails to remember what my job actually is these days.

# 2021 In Review

We’re now two years into a (still) evolving pandemic with entirely too many plot twists, but life goes on and I’ve been trying to push that into the background. And given the season, I think I should put together another list of noteworthy things that came to pass in much the same vein as .

# 670 Days Later

Now that Christmas has come and gone (with varying results as people scrambled to test centers to figure out whether it was safe), I think another short update on the COVID situation in Portugal is warranted as the Omicron variant takes a firm hold.

# The Christmas Halo Effect

It’s looking like we’re going to be in for a rainy Christmas this year, so couch surfing seems like a given, and some light gaming is in order. I have a bazillion things on my personal backlog, but… I need to relax a little, so traipsing around a Forerunner ring again is much more appealing than any of them right now.

# Unreal Thoughts

I’ve been watching the discussions and interviews about the Matrix Awakens Unreal 5 demo (which, sadly, is not available on Game Pass), and I have thoughts about it. And they’re ambivalent, but likely not in the way you would expect.

# The Bored Programmer's Ambilight

Although I abhor RGB lighting in PC builds, I’ve always been fascinated with Philips TVs and the Ambilight feature, of which there are dozens of hacky clones.