Covid Confessions

My previous Confessions were rather gloomy. I wrote it with the prospect of not being able to travel and ‘celebrate’ a staycation instead. Luckily that didn’t happen. I was able to travel and I took great advantage of that privilege. I went to Copenhagen as planned. I went to a wedding as planned. I went to Versailles (and Paris), as a last-minute decision.

Other than the hoops the Man and I had to jump through when travelling to Denmark (one test home, one test in Copenhagen, as we were still a week away from being fully vaccinated), it was a close to normal experience to cross European borders. Luckily, I’m of the generation that still remembers border controls, so I wasn’t taken by surprise by the border control on our way to Denmark. I can imagine that for younger people, who were born within EU after the borders opened up, it might feel very weird to encounter custom officers on the high way.

In Denmark, most regulations were already loosened. Danish distance keeping was at a different level than I was used back home so the first few days I felt very uncomfortable with people entering my personal space. Masks were not necessary, so I sometimes felt a bit bare when walking in shops ‘unprotected’. However, as I biked and walked around town more, I started to relax. Knowing that I was (at last) fully vaccinated as well, it felt good to experience a city where covid-19 wasn’t in the foreground any more. Of course there were places where my covid-pass was scanned, but as the weather was mostly nice we just sat somewhere outside and didn’t even need a pass.

How different that was when visiting Paris. Parisian waiters made sure to ask for and scan your covid-pass as soon as you asked to be seated, either outside or inside. Even for entering Galleries Lafayette, you needed a pass. While the Danish government announced to let go of all regulations, France made the covid-pass compulsory and extends its restrictions. What I found most notable was that Copenhagen seemed busy, and Paris seemed empty. Shopping streets in Copenhagen were full of life and at some places I sometimes felt uneasy with the amount of people standing close to me, like I would have felt pre-covid. In Paris, walking about and using the metro felt very relaxed. Something I had not experienced before in Paris. The Man and I had no issue finding seats to have lunch. There was always a table available, even at the more popular (filled with locals) restaurants. The metro platforms were never crowded, instead they were mostly empty. I got a glimpse of what Paris would be without mass tourism. I liked it. I do realize that it’s an economic nightmare for a city like Paris. Still, I would visit Paris more often if it stays like this. That might compensate a little bit 😉

I’m really happy I spent Summer holidays partly abroad. It was good to experience a few weeks of carefree life. I needed that after spending every minute of the day as efficiently as possible during the first half of 2021.

With Daughter back in school, regulated life commences. And that feels good too.

Door |2021-09-01T12:02:53+02:001 september 2021|flow|0 Reacties

Shakespeare and Company

When shops closed globally, the Man ordered books online at shops he deemed important to support. Shakespeare and Company was one of them. The Man was not the only one with this idea. The bookstore was overwhelmed with online orders from all corners of the world. Now that we’re in Paris, we simply had to visit the store in person. It was rather busy inside, a good sign that this quirky bookshop will survive.

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Door |2021-08-27T11:40:48+02:0027 augustus 2021|deze dag|1 Reactie

Lunch a deux

The Man and I couldn’t remember when was the last time we went out for lunch without Daughter. As we both had a meeting in Utrecht this afternoon, and Daughter was in daycare today, we took advantage of this opportunity to first have coffee and then lunch together. It turns out we still have plenty to talk about, despite spending 99,9% of our time together during pandemic era.

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Door |2021-08-18T19:41:12+02:0018 augustus 2021|deze dag|0 Reacties

This is what clubbing did in NL

Now that the UK is opening night-clubs, I’ll show you what to expect over the next few weeks. My government ran an experiment for fifteen days. The experiment was: do whatever you like, but keep your distance and get tested for activities when social distancing is not possible. Oh, and when you get your Janssen-shot your Corona-pass is active immediately (also called ‘Dansen met Janssen’-pass). Oh, and a test is valid for forty hours. That will get you going all weekend! Delta-variant? Yeah, we heard about that, but it’ll will be dominant by September, not earlier.

This is what happened

Number of people who tested positive per 100.000 inhabitants between June 14 and July 19.
First white dot on the blue line beneath the graph: June 26, opening up. Second dot: July 10, closing night-clubs and curfew for all cafes at midnight.
Number of people who tested positive between June 14 and July 19 per age group

In other words: let the unvaccinated groups dance all night long and give some of them long-covid, and their parents (many under 25 still live with their parents), who are still 1 shot and/or two weeks away of being fully vaccinated, too.

And what about Delta? Yep. Taking us by storm.

Covid-19 variants measured between June 28 and July 4

But the Brits are better vaccinated than the Dutch, right? Well…not really.

Vaccination rollout in the UK, source: The Guardian July 19
Vaccination rollout NL, source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control July 19

And don’t forget, the Dutch are mainly vaccinated with mRNA vaccines, which are better at fighting off the Delta variant.

I can’t wait to see the UK graphs in a few weeks’ time.

Door |2021-07-19T17:13:44+02:0019 juli 2021|datascience, flow|0 Reacties

Covid Confessions

We were doing so well in June. Then the Dutch government decided it would be a great gift to all people to open up basically everything on June 26th, including nightclubs. Imagine all those young bodies dancing, sweating, drinking, hugging, kissing inside rooms where the air is recycled through many noses, mouths and lungs like it’s 2019. Sure, people needed to show their coronapass before allowed in, but that could be obtained with a quick test, giving you green light to party for 40 hours in a row. And scanning all those QR-codes became a real hassle when you see the row of people waiting to enter grow and grow.

On that day, June 26th, we had a daily count of about 550 new infections. In some countries, that would still be reason enough not to go out and about. Unsurprisingly, on July 1st that number went up and as I’m writing this, July 10th, we counted 10.345 newly infected people in one day. That brings us back to lock-down Christmas 2020. With one week of partying we nullified 6 months of patiently waiting. Well done government. They still can’t seem to grasp exponential growth despite their weekly meetings with the experts.

I feel so angry.

I’m currently studying really hard for a data engineering exam and it’s tough. I really appreciate all the knowledge I’m gaining on how to handle data in data warehouses and data lakes, but it is not inspiring to learn data plumbing. The past month I haven’t been sleeping well, and that led me to spiral down the greyness inside. There was a bright point in the future I clung on to these past few weeks. The idea of travel. Two weeks with just the three of us in a city that I love. Two weeks of reintroducing Daughter to the wonders of going places.

A few months ago the Man took a gamble and reserved a house in Copenhagen for two weeks through Airbnb. I knew it was a gamble, but in June the idea of travel became a realistic scenario. We both receive our second shot the week before we leave, we are welcome in Denmark. As our second shot is only a week before we leave we still need to take a test before entering Denmark, but if that’s the only thing I have to do to be able to enter the Louisiana Museum, check out the shops on Vesterbrogade or get a coffee at The Coffee Collective, no problem. But then June 26th came.

With one week of exam preparation to go (doing the exam coming Friday), the bright point in the future shines very brittle. I guess the Germans put up a fence for their partying neighbours next week (we drive through Germany to get to Denmark) and the Danes put us on the red list, requiring us to quarantine on arrival. Rightfully so.

I have been one of those careful inhabitants of this country who have been taking all the precautions and spent nearly 1,5 years in and around their home. I’ve dealt with it all. Even with a four year old (now five) darting around the house for weeks on end while juggling work, home schooling for her and home schooling for me at the same time. The gift from my government after six months of surviving the greyest of days? I bet another six weeks of staying at home during Daughter’s Summer holidays. At least we both are exempt from home schooling.

As I said. I feel so angry.

Door |2021-07-10T18:35:01+02:0010 juli 2021|flow|1 Reactie
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