Sunday night. I’m finally starting to do something productive with my self-imposed lockdown: taking French lessons through the DuoLingo app. First thoughts: I can see why people have such strong reactions to that owl. Also, French pronunciation is absolutely insane. I haven’t experienced anything like that since I took a brief class on the basics of Mandarin. So many ways to pronounce all those vowels… It’s quite a trip, considering that grammar and spelling are similar to English and Spanish.

Oh well, if I wanted things to be easy, I would’ve taken Italian, eh? Being able to speak even a little bit of French will come in useful within a year.

In covid news, New Zealand is officially covid-free, with zero active cases anywhere in the country. Another article pointed out that Cuba is doing better than anyone else in Latin America, thanks primarily to their healthcare system, which is very people-oriented and dedicated to finding and eliminating problems as soon as they show up. The fact that their doctors and medical students actually go door to door to visit all of their assigned families… That’s nothing short of remarkable, and once again puts the US response to shame.

Ordering covid PPE is an interesting catch-22. All the best face shields are allocated for the front-line responders. (As they should be.) It’s impossible to order them, so the only remaining options are those that had been deemed not quite good enough. They appear to be cheaply made pieces of plastic that don’t actually do much, and they’re plastered with fake 5-star reviews from customers who never actually bought them. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t: all the best stuff is off the market, and what’s left is pretty bad. It took some creative searching, but I’ve found a giant sturdy face shield for $57 CAD. …I’m not entirely clear whom it was originally designed for: the description claims it’s been designed to protect against chemical spills and flying debris. Sooo, very clumsy lab assistants or construction workers who drew the short straw, I suppose?

It’ll be interesting to view people’s reactions to my forthcoming attire of a face mask, wraparound glasses, and a face shield. Thus far, I’ve only seen face shields on retail workers in a handful of stores: everyone else makes do with masks, or wears no PPE at all. Very few add glasses or goggles to their ensemble. I fully acknowledge that I might be overreacting a bit, but hey, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean the virus ain’t out to get you.