Covid-19 Update (Nov 22)

Our staff is back to working on Goldenseal Pro, though no major progress to report yet.

Meanwhile, here’s a chart for new weekly Covid-19 infections in each region in the US:

The numbers are from Johns Hopkins University. I multiplied counts for the first few weeks by 5x, because testing was so sparse back then. There’s still lack of testing now, but not nearly as bad.

50 million people are predicted to travel for Thanksgiving, so the curves probably will get steeper.

Covid-19 is now worse than the first surge 7 months ago, but the US reaction is very different. Here’s a chart of restaurant activity from OpenTable. It covers the entire pandemic from Feb 18 until yesterday.

Between March 10 and March 20, every state dropped rapidly from normal to 0% or close. Starting in May, seatings inched back to 50% or 60% of usual in most places (Rhode Island went crazy with restaurant dining, while Hawaii and DC mostly stayed closed). Attendance has dropped off a little in the past month, but many people are still eating out like it’s 2019. Presumably they are doing other things that spread virus, also.

I don’t know what to say. It’s like watching two trains on the same track, headed towards each other. The Coronavirus train is much, much bigger.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director

Covid-19 in New York #5: Early Signs (Nov 13)

Here in Ithaca, we just set a record for active Covid-19 cases and people in hospital. Nationally, the US is also setting records. Things are getting worse in every state except Mississippi.

Globally, much of Europe is shutting down. Meanwhile, the US is chugging along about like normal. OpenTable shows restaurant seating declines in a few states, but most are about the same as a few months ago.

Back in March, I posted a link that talked about how fast Covid-19 will hit. It’s worth revisiting, since conditions probably will be like that again, and soon. Except, this time it’s starting from higher ground. Most of the US is headed towards conditions that are similar to New York City last March.

My parents are in a nursing home in Cattaraugus County NY. It’s rural, just south of Buffalo NY. I check their Health Department website weekly, to get an idea of how things are going there. It’s the only nearby county with a write-up on every case: gender, symptoms, how they caught it, why they were tested.

The odds of catching Covid-19 are growing rapidly. It may outstrip the number of test kits (already happening in the Dakotas). So, I decided to put all the Cattaraugus data into Excel (633 cases), then do math on them. The results may be useful for anyone trying to figure whether they have Covid-19 or not.

60% of Cattaraugus cases are female, 40% male. 20% are health care workers or employees in hospitals or group homes. 47% reported close contact with a Covid-19 carrier. They may not have known it at the time. 8% caught it while traveling elsewhere. 92% were local transmission.

34% had no symptoms when tested (they may have developed some later).

On average, the other 66% reported 3.21 symptoms each. The most common were fever (43%), coughs (43%), congestion (36%), body aches (33%), and headaches (31%). 21% had loss of taste and/or smell. That’s the only one that is different from a bad cold or the flu.

14% had shortness of breath: the most scary sign, since most deaths are caused by respiratory failure.

Victims also reported the usual stuff: fatigue, sore throat, chills, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, sinusitis, weakness, dizziness, chest pains, stomach pains, vomiting. Sneezing was rare: only 3 mentioned it.

UPDATE NOV 22: Cattaraugus had 52 positive tests on Nov 17. Then 30+ most days after that. Not surprisingly, they stopped listing details for every case and just give a summary now. I revised the percentages slightly, with a few days more data.

If you want one more way to track the pandemic, Carnegie-Mellon now has a website with Covid-19 maps. It uses Google and FaceBook data to track doctor visits, mask usage and other indicators.

Back in March, people changed their behavior very quickly. It happened in just a week or two, even before Governors shut down states. I’m curious to see if it happens again.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director

Goldenseal Pro Progress (Nov 2)

TurtleSoft is mostly done moving into the new office. It’s bigger, which was a bit of a gamble given the uncertain economy.

Next on the agenda is to finish interior work on my house in town, then sell it and buy another fixer-upper. Right now the local real estate market is still pretty good, and hopefully it will stay that way for a few more months.

Programming requires intense focus, which (for me at least) requires a calm environment. I was making good progress on Goldenseal Pro before the move, but still haven’t shifted back into programmer mode. It may take another week or two to really get settled in and productive again. Long nights and crappy weather also help.

The rate of progress this winter will depend on the pandemic, politics and the economy. Personally, I’m calmer when experiencing positive cash flow. Some of the ways to make that happen consume a lot of time.

The Goldenseal Pro project has dragged on much, much longer than ever expected. First there were a few subcontractors who tried it and failed. Then our staff took over, and failed with two different frameworks (Cocoa for Mac, MFC for Windows). QT is looking like it may be a winner, but that is not guaranteed. We will know better in a few months.

If it’s clear that we can’t finish Goldenseal Pro, I’ll fall back on the original retirement plan from before Turtlesoft started: buy, live in, rehab and sell fixer-upper houses on a 3 to 5 year cycle. Selling my current house in April +/- should provide enough extra cash to pay back folks who prepaid for Goldenseal Pro. That is a bit dependent on where the pandemic and the economy go. If there is a major financial crash, I’m pretty much screwed.

If QT works out, we probably will have something to ship by late 2021. Possibly earlier if sailing is very smooth. I’m sure the early releases will have some gaps and rough spots, but at least the core estimating and accounting functions are well-tested. They won’t be affected by the new interface code.

Meanwhile, please vote. Please wear a mask. Stay safe. Covid-19 is not a hoax:

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director