Covid-19 Stories

Started by stephaneb 4 years ago21 replieslatest reply 4 years ago785 views

How about we share with each others the impact that the current pandemic is having on our lives & work? 

I will start.

First, I am located in Canada, where like in most countries, the pandemic is gaining momentum.  The province where I live, New Brunswick, has only 18 confirmed cases of covid-19 so far, but our province is also the one in Canada that has the lowest ratio of testing per inhabitant so chances are that there are many more cases that haven't been identified yet.  Most businesses in the province are closed and we are asked to stay home and avoid seeing other people.  

As in many other locations around the world, our people also felt an urge to buy as much toilet paper as possible when things started to get serious a couple of weeks ago.  Luckily, we already had a decent reserve of toilet paper, enough to last a few weeks if we ration usage modestly, and hopefully enough to last until toilet paper isn't a rare commodity in local stores anymore.

The other day I went to the liquor store to buy a few beers and some wine to help us through the confinement.  The very large liquor store would not let in more than 3 customers at a time so people were waiting in line outside, about 30 of them, no more than 3 feet apart from each other.  Making things worse, the wind was blowing in the perfect direction and with the perfect strength to propagate potential droplets from the first to the last person in line.  The measures in place felt very ineffective to say the least. 

Because I was already operating/maintaining the Related websites from my home office, the current 'work from home' directive is not having a significant impact on my daily routine.  What's different though is to have my daughters and wife in the house all day long.  And we also care for our 9 years old nephew during most days as her mother, my sister in law, is a pediatrician and very much needed these days.  Having all these lovely people around makes it a little more difficult to focus on my work but this is a tiny issue compared to what many others are going through. 

There are many people in my life who are in the high-risk category, including my parents, my in-laws, many aunts and uncles.  We try to help the ones that are physically close enough to us by bringing them grocery or anything else they may need, so they don't have to risk going outside.  

In the movie 'Titatic' there is a scene where they notice the iceberg and do whatever they can to avoid a collision.  In the area where I live, it currently feels like we are in this moment between the time when the engineers did everything they could to stir the boat and avoid a collision, and the time when we will know if we are going to hit or not and how bad it will be. We already know how the movie ends, but have no idea yet how our situation will unfold.

What about you?  What are your Covid-19 stories?  Anyone in this community who has been infected yet?

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Reply by Maurizio_MalaspinaMarch 31, 2020

Hi Stephane,

I live in the center Italy, in the Marche region, one of the most struck by COVID-19 and situation here is quite similar to your. Don't be afraid: toilet paper today was available on the shelf! On the other hand there are no masks... so I take this opportunity to thank Chinese people who are helping us shipping little quantities directly at our houses.

Working with unleashed children all around requires a huge effort but the reward is on the corner: nothing compares to the smile of your child, especially when you'r out of your house all the day to work, sometime dreaming of embracing him. 

Today, suddenly, we're conscious that some kind of jobs, could be remoted, as in my case, where I'm overperforming my daily and frustrating standard in writing firmware/software. I hope all that will make us more flexible here in Italy.

Ah, I was forgetting: I've finally found the time to post my first technical question (and a Jupyter notebook) on DSPrelated blog and it has been great, especially in this particular circumstances, to receive feedbacks from other members of this community!

Thank you all.

I hope all this will soon become just a far memory.




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Reply by MaxMaxfieldMarch 31, 2020

Hi Stephane -- Max here -- I'm based in Huntsville, Alabama, USA (I moved here from England for the nightlife -- that's a little Alabama joke right there :-)

It's strange to visit the supermarkets and see the toilet roll shelves bare, but at least there's food. I hear that a lot of supermarkets in the UK are without food also. Fortunately, I'm a bit of a pack-rat -- every 2nd or 3rd trip to the store, I pick up a pack of toilet rolls and a pack of kitchen towels as a matter of habit -- as a result, we have a nice stash in the garage.

Also, about 3.5 weeks ago, I got tired of the fact that my 25-year-old son was hogging the freezer part of the fridge-freezer in the kitchen, so I ordered a big standup freezer. It was delivered and installed a week last Thursday -- that evening my wife and I went to Sam's Club and did a mega shop for frozen food (veg, meat, meals, etc.) The next morning, the government declared the state of emergency and the stores were flooded with people -- for once in my life I got the timing right LOL

Did you see my column about Virus-Killing Snoods from Wales? https://www.clivemaxfield.com/virus-killing-snoods...

Stay well. Wash your hands. Drink beer. Eat bacon sandwiches. Wear Hawaiian Shirts. Don't worry. Be happy. And I'll see you on the flip side :-)

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Reply by atomqMarch 31, 2020

Hi there, I am based in Poland/Europe. However things still are not going so horrible as in Italy/Spain out there, but there are some severe measures in action that our government has already introduced. Regarding communication infrastructure I have noticed that legacy bandwidth of wired communication infrastructure is not handling the situation at all. Lots of children be remotely in their schools (rest of them probably do stream the movies or play RT games in the groups..), people who incline to 'work in home' occupy just a fraction of the bandwidth.

Anybody can share the ideas how the situation can hit embedded/design business?

I myself think that people will tend to live in more minimalistic way, as they have already start to realize that it is possible.. All the bloated-up designs (e.g. automotive 16xethernet hubs running on DDR5-s) will collapse as the people will use the things-that-work rather than the ones that have-a-good-look but work-when-the-opportunity-occurs. Well maybe one exception will be the legacy communication infrastructure.. How do you think?

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Reply by MarkDSylvaMarch 31, 2020
I haven't been infected, but the grocery store owner where I'd by Alphonso mangos from India died of COVID-19 on the weekend!


And today I just heard of a famous Indian chef who was from the same small part of Bombay that I'm from  (Bandra)   and who knew my cousins and some aunts/uncles  died yesterday!


My guess is that soon we will all know someone personally who died of this virus.

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Reply by drmikeMarch 31, 2020

I'm in Wisconsin USA, just south of Canada.  I'm doing a lot more damage via remote access than I normally do on site.  I've had the IT guys reboot the main server I use for EM simulations as well as the computer I remote into.  I also blew away the MBR of another computer when I was on site Monday, but as long as nobody tries to reboot that one all is well.  

My wife went on a panic buying spree about 3 weeks ago so we have toilet paper to last 2 or 3 months.  And a lot of canned food.  But she still goes to the store to get fresh fruit.  

The craziest thing here in the US is the people buying out gun shops.  One store put up a sign "here to help you protect your toilet paper!"  They are having a hard time keeping bullets in stock I guess.

Our company was ordered by the Dept. of Defense to stay open, so the manufacturing side is staying busy.  One of the guys set up a thermal camera near the entrance so anyone can check their temperature before going too far into the facility.  So far, nobody has gotten infected.  But given the present growth rate of cases, it won't be long.  In the mean time - I'm "in hiding", working out of my basement and having fun typing things like this.

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Reply by david_daysMarch 31, 2020

Hi, Everyone!

David from southern Ohio, here.  If you look at the Johns-Hopkins US map, we're in that big blank spot south of Columbus, but today the county next to us just had their first case.  Practically speaking, it's already here, and probably has been for at least a little while.

Same story as others in the US, as far as toilet paper and food.  The shelves are weirdly empty (no TP or paper towels, no beans in some stores, no soup in others).  I've been doing remote work for 7 years, so it hasn't been that big of a change for myself.  However, I live with my elderly parents and my wife, all of whom have multiple risk factors, so I have to be careful no matter how much I believe in my own immortality.  :-)

(Since I just turned 50 this year, that belief has long gone by the wayside, too.)

I have several family members who work in the medical community, such as the ER and physical therapy, and a couple who are volunteer EMTS.  No one has any symptoms as far as we know, but we're all staying in our own homes and keeping to ourselves.  Lots of family chats going on to keep everyone connected.

I'm fortunate to work for a company where pretty much everyone works remotely.  We have developers scattered across the country, so the daily routine has remained pretty much the same.  I think the biggest change is the added stress.  I've only chatted with a couple of people about it directly, but I get the sense that we're all handling this about the same way--working hard, but keeping an eye on things.

For myself, it's the repetitive refreshing of all the news sites and watching all the case maps and counts.  Being a math-geek (but not an epidemiologist), I'm always running my own models in my head, checking what's officially reported against what I expect, and thinking about where/why the gaps exist.  It's kind of stressful and soothing at the same time.  I imagine that this is how people end up in basements with walls covered in push-pins and string, but I like to believe that I will always be grounded in one core fact:  You can't know everything.

That's about it.  I'll try to keep everyone up to date if anything changes.  Take care, and good luck!

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Reply by antedeluvianMarch 31, 2020

Hi Stephan

I am cooped up here on the northern city limits of Toronto. We are in a lockdown and have been for over a week. Work falls into the provincial government's (no federal lockdown yet) definition of critical industry so we are working using as much social distancing as possible. 

As a result of a computer crash- I believe that our server got Covid-19, but I am assured it was a result of a power brownout that destroyed two of our SSDs. We were all away from work 10 days as we couldn't do anything anyway. 

The server crash has finally been resolved and some of our guys are back working staggered hours to reduce the overlap whilst some are working from home. Lots of sanitizer around and plans that everyone eats at their desks and only one person at a time in the kitchen and (2 stall) bathroom.  I fall into the high risk category (age and immune system compromised) and so I am stuck at home. 

I could work from home, but I require some development boards from Digikey. They were shipped ~15 days ago, but Fedex decided they were non-critical and will only be delivered on April 3. Until then I am trying to occupy myself with learning Kicad, amongst other home projects.

I do go out for a walk almost every day, but it is still too cold to sit on the deck. Fortunately my wife & I live in a fairly large house, so we don't feel cabin fever that acutely.

My wife does make occasional forays to the supermarket. Toilet Paper is back on the shelves but for some reason flour has been wiped out along with other inexplicables like hot mustard. There is plenty of Coca Cola and chocolate, so I see no reason for panic.

The only thing that baffles me is that we are using 14th century technology (quarantine) to treat a 21st century plague. 

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Reply by tekMarch 31, 2020

Life is pretty crazy. 

My wife is in chemo, so we have to be super careful. She doesn't go out at all, I go out rarely and clean up a lot.

My main client today is in the cloud-storage space, and that is exploding. Lots to do.


I haven't worked a minute since Sunday on the clock. 

At noon on Sunday, I got a call from faculty at my alma mater; they were bring asked by the local large hospital system for a way to modify their ventilators so that staff didn't have to burn PPE to just go see how things were going. We're working on it.

Tuesday got another call, to convert portable 'mass crisis' respirators (that normally run on D cells) to run on AC .. so that they don't run out of D cells or people who can replace the D cells. We're working on it.

We embedded systems folk have a lot to offer. We need to make sure that we can stand back an understand what the folks on the front line have to deal with, and it isn't what we're used to. Simple, Foolproof, Failsafe, and here tomorrow. And we need to step down off our pedestal and understand that we're just one piece of the machinery that makes the world better.. and we're not the smartest people in the room.

We CAN make a difference.

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Reply by CustomSargeMarch 31, 2020

Howdy, power supply conversions are easy - for those familiar. 

PLEASE copy / send me any valid conversion queries.

Been doing this type stuff 50+ years (no kidding).

Mem: voltage needs match, current needs to be equal or more..  Most know this, but for those who don't.

My ironic moment was in EE school at final exam. My dinky calculator used 4 x AAA batteries (Sinclair). Mine were dead so I clip leaded a 4 x F cell battery (block size 6V). Several students remarked that I'd burn out my calculator in this way..... Oh Well .   <<<)))

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Reply by sgrassiMarch 31, 2020

Hello all, I hope you are doing well.

I am in Switzerland (French part, Neuchâtel). Me and my family and friends are all doing well so far.

They have closed all schools. All higher education institutes are doing their best to provide distant education. There was a little shortage of few items (toilet paper, flower, pasta, ...) at the beginning due to people rushing to the supermarkets, so the shops had to work like mad to keep the supply. There is not real shortage of goods, it is only the behavior of the people. The medical system is under pressure, but coping in most of the places (except the Italian part that was hit harder so far). People is asked to stay home as much as they can, to keep social distance and to respect hygiene rules. All shops are closed except essential goods (food, gas, medicaments, ...) as well as the restaurants, bars, and other public places.

It is forbidden to gather indoors and outdoors (more than 5 people). This "extraordinary situation" should last till 19 April. But some Cantons (like the one I work) made it till 30 April.

It is allowed to go out, within these rules. Today I went jogging in the forest. It was crowded ! I usually go there all year since more than 20 years, first time I see so many people there. I guess people need a break of being confined at home.

The school I work for (doing R&D) is closed (except essential operation) and people work distantly.

As per today 11,189 people have tested positive and 165 people have died (on a population of 8.6 million). The number of infections may be higher, because they do not test systematically anymore.

I hope the situation here and worldwide improves soon.

All the best,


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Reply by neiroberMarch 31, 2020

Hi everyone,

I'm in Columbus, Ohio.  I am wondering how long my hair will be before my barber is open for business again.  OK, not a big issue!

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Reply by Tim WescottMarch 31, 2020

My story is similar to everyone else's.  I changed jobs to a startup in the middle of January (I'm employee #5 -- I had a shot at #4, but I'd stepped out of the office to get some tea when the HR guy was ready for us).

We're managing to be quite productive working remotely; we're burning up the fiber optics with meetings, and learning what everyone's home office space looks like.  Things are a little extra worrisome because we're a startup and investors are jittery all over the world, but we have a chance at developing a really nifty product (www.preact-tech.com).  My days are spent doing math, writing white papers, and coordinating the software effort.

Both of my kids are college-age, and my wife is working on her BS, finally -- so there's four of us working remotely, and getting it to work.  My wife did have one class (software for IoT devices) that was cancelled because it required some lab work, but she's been able to adjust.

We're a bit concerned about how this is going to impact the mechanical and electrical engineering students at our local University (I suppose we should care about all the other lab sciences, too, but eh -- who needs chemists and biologists?)

We have foot, shelter, and toilet paper (and booze), and no one is sicker than can be accounted for by normal colds and allergies, so we're doing all right.

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Reply by sdbranamMarch 31, 2020

I'm in Massachusetts. I've done enough random days of working from home that this isn't much of a change for me other than now doing it every day. As a result, I wrote up a LinkedIn article with some advice on how to do it, as well as a few musings on living and working this way, and those who aren't fortunate enough to be able to do so: Some Advice For Working From Home.

I feel bad both for the people who's health have been and will be affected, as well as for those whose livelihoods have been affected. This will be hard on all of them. There will be a difficult period of recovery.

It's not clear what the new normalcy will be after that. Hopefully we will have learned something from the hard lessons this has presented. Because this will not simply go away. It will be an ongoing threat.

So far response has been the critical operating mode. Preparation will be the next critical mode. Though as this absolutely prescient TED talk from Bill Gates in 2015 shows, preparation is not our strong suit: The next outbreak? We're not ready

My wife is an operating room nurse in one of the major Boston hospitals, so she's pretty close to the lion's mouth. My brother is a physician in West Virginia, so he is similarly close, and may be doing more direct care. His wife is the head of public health in West Virginia, so she's on the front lines of managing the efforts at a state level. She's not getting much sleep.

The second person to die in Massachusetts was in our town, and is younger than we are. I'm Floyd Cardoz's age.

In general, I'm an optimist. But I'm also a pragmatic realist. Hope for the best and plan for the worst. We will prevail. But it won't be without cost.

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Reply by CrandlesMarch 31, 2020

I'm out in South East Michigan where things are starting to get pretty bad. One day I heard three ambulances go by my apartment before I had finished eating my breakfast...

So far working from home isn't that bad. Not having a commute is awesome! Plus I can take breaks to stretch/exercise more easily. Unfortunately a lot of my work is related to sound/acoustics and it doesn't look like I'll be able to access our lab for a bit. I'm sure I'll find stuff to do until then but it won't nearly be as fun...

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Reply by BVRameshMarch 31, 2020

Hello All, hope that all of you are in good health.

I am in BagaIore, India, I have not been infected, We are all under lockdown from 22 March to almost middle of April. My son who was working in Mumbai, came back to our home and is with us and he is working from home. We are connecting to our relatives over phone. We stored grocceries for 1 month and waiting for lifting of lockdown.

I am consultant for few firms in Bangalore and I have not recieved any call since 3rd March, spending time with family.

Hope that we will coe out of this with no more life losses, (I pray God) and will be on normal life soon.


BV Ramesh.

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Reply by rnpMarch 31, 2020

I am in Munich, Germany, not infected so far. We should stay calm and pay attention to the scientists and health care authorities, and calmly spread their assessments and recommendations in our social circle.

Stay home as much as possible, so we are supporting those who have to go outside to keep the basic infrastructure running: water supply, electricity, food, goods, health care, and so on. And we are reducing the number of new cases.

I live in a residential area, I see dozens of elderly people walking around on the streets, I saw already the same person different times in the same day, an irresponsible behaviour in this dire time. It is very unfortunate, that some people only learn thru pain. We should put the community well being above our individual rights/freedom in the current situation.

I still have to go to the office twice a week, we have to support our costumers that use our measurement devices in research/academia and industry.

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Reply by CustomSargeMarch 31, 2020

I'm Kalamazoo, Michigan area, rural enough to not have many cases, as versed with Detroit area. Been work out of home 25+ years, some luck, much effort. Using this as an opportunity to design an upgrade to an existing product. Customer has been musing about it for a while, so hunkering down is my excuse to go for it.

Me and nearly all friends are 65+, so taking it seriously is easy - we're not stupid.

My fervent hope is some agency will get to the bottom of how this happened. I'm not saying it was deliberate, but something isn't passing the smell test as more info of activities and timings emerge.

Real glad I stayed with my satellite TV service, inet bandwidth is the worst I've seen.

Stay healthy, keep the powder dry, this shall pass   <<<)))

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Reply by SarabethMarch 31, 2020

I'm a grad student at the University of Edinburgh, but originally from the Seattle area of the US. On Monday, both Seattle and the UK moved to lock-down the general population, and since my parents in Seattle both have several risk factors for severe cases (in addition to being exposed to a confirmed case of Covid-19), they asked me to return home. 

I just arrived back last night, and Seattle seems to be a bit less bleak than Scotland was. While grocery stores were finally starting to handle the demand of panic buyers in Edinburgh, there were plenty of empty shelves - in particular, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, pasta, and alcohol (the Scots have their priorities, after all). People on the streets haven't gotten used to the 2m separation rules yet, and I admit I find it difficult to maintain so much distance as well. 

To be honest, the empty shelves and streets were the most unnerving part of the city's response. Seattle has more of a car-culture than the UK does, so I saw more people out and about in their vehicles than in Edinburgh. 

Many Chinese nationals I saw in the airports were fully outfitted in PPE: goggles, hair nets, face masks, jumpsuits over their normal clothes, rain ponchos over the jumpsuits, latex gloves, and shoe covers. Spraying everything they touched with alcohol. A lot of Americans travelling back with me didn't seem to be taking the pandemic seriously at all. We were met by CDC agents in PPE as soon as we disembarked the plane, before even reaching the main airport buildings.  I'm in a mandatory 14-day quarantine now as I have travelled from a high risk area, so I really have no excuse to not keep practicing and learning DSP!

At this point, my largest concern is the ability to continue engaging in my studies from such a different time zone. The collaboration process was going to be difficult from any place in the world since everything's moved online, but I'll be ignoring my circadian clock to stay in Scottish time on the west coast of the US. Not ideal, but I suppose it's better to be quarantined in the same house as my family than it is to be isolated in Scotland without any social circle.

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Reply by jt_eatonMarch 31, 2020

I'm taking this seriously. I've seen the numbers and I know how exponential curves work. My wife and I are both in the high risk group and stand a serious chance of dieing. We wouldn't die from the virus, we would die from triage because there are not enough ventilators for everyone and we are passed the age cut off set by the death panel. My sister on the other hand will live because she lives in a red state that will get enough ventilators. My state voted for the "snake" so we will be punished.

I was guessing one year of lockdown and a million deaths until I saw how Mississippi was responding. Now its two years and 2-3 million deaths.

Other than that this is great. We are retired so income is not an issue. Stock market has been brutal but we cashed out enough in January for the entire year and won't actually lose anything till next January. Even then we are saving enough by not eating out or shopping that we will probably come out ahead. We will have to give significant help to the rest of the family.

We live on a farm with 2 freezers and a stocked pantry and accidentally  bought toilet paper last month while we still had a almost full package in the garage. We had a years supply before the rush.

Getting all sorts of chores done that I have been putting off for years. The shop is beginning to look uncluttered and the woodshed is filling up.

John Eaton

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Reply by dudelsoundMarch 31, 2020


I'm from Germany in the Stuttgart Area. My company is still up and running. Production has been changed from one larger shift to two shorter shifts to increase distance/let fewer people work at a time. All who can are in home-office and so am I.

My four kids aged 10 and below are home, so I am quite lucky my wife decided some time ago she would not start working for another year or so. Right now she keeps the ship up and running with a tight schedule. 8:15 breakfast, 9:00 everybody starts working - the kids got excercise for every day from school (there are amazing online resources for learning!). I have my lunch break when I smell food. Amazing. Home office works remarkably well when everybody does it and they all stick to the online meeting tools.

Luckily we have a small back yard that holds one or two patches of grass and a trampoline and the kids use it A LOT.

In the evenings my wife and I played cards and drank wine with friends via google hangouts - I can really recommend that. It was almost like having them over. You need a rather simple game and both need to own a set, of course, but it worked surprisingly well.

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Reply by kazMarch 31, 2020

I am going to be different from many people. Yes the disease is not simple flu but it is not worth all the panic and lock down. If we exclude the elderly - including myself - then it is comparable to winter flu with possibly two weeks of fever and pneumonia.

Here are my specific points:

1) one patient zero caused all the pandemic. Now we got millions of patient zeros and we have to live with it and develop immunity or get a vaccine.

2) There is no treatment, no vaccine so what is going to be done in hospitals then...more exposure, more panic and destruction of immune system out of fear. The only exceptions are those who need ventilators assuming their lungs are strong enough not to get ruptured. I would rather die in dignity at home.

3) Politicians are copying each other in panic and flip flopping every few hours.

4) Our professionals are really talking out of thin air about course of pandemic, methods of transmission, projections for future...

5) our investment in technology had always had one priority; how to make highest profit. We can't fight this tiny virus with atomic weapons or DSP.

6) The continuous display of numbers for positive cases is meaningless. It will go into thousands of millions. It is not football.

Stay strong, let your immune system do the job and don't weaken it under social phobia. Wishing you all well.