The Vaccine Rollout – Too Many Unknowns

World governments are trying to deal with the complexity of vaccinating enough of their populations to provide an adequate level of herd immunity to be able to declare that the COVID 19 pandemic is under control. Having a Darwinian health care system and a lack of federal leadership means the U.S. will most likely lag behind the rest of the world in vaccine rollout. Experts are guessing that anywhere from 70-90 percent of people need to be vaccinated to meet herd immunity efficacy .

One of the major problems that all countries face is the fact that no one really knows how the pandemic will play out, even under the best of vaccine rollout scenarios. In addition, there are many unknowns about how vaccines work and how the virus behaves.


Brattleboro VFW Reality Sets In

The recent situation with COVID has resulted in some hard truths for the Brattleboro VFW. Clubs have taken a beating financially, along with a lot of other businesses.

We have had to cancel all our functions since March. No dinner/dances, birthday parties, wedding receptions, regular bingos, cancer or Brattleboro Firefighter’s fundraising bingos, banquets, holiday parties, etc. etc.

We had to shut down completely for three months starting in March, but still the bills came in. Some grants from the government helped pay some, but not all of those bills.


A New Bill, Another Slap In The Face

The elite American ruling class, aka Congress, has once again proven that they do not understand or respect the hardship that a majority of Americans are experiencing. They are also making it clear that they are only willing to offer crumbs to a starving population.

The most recent stimulus package that just passed after months of political posturing is a slap in the face to most Americans. It provides a one-time check of $600 to people whose income is below $75,000. The people who crafted this legislation have no idea what $600 buys in the real world. I suspect most of them never shop for their own necessities, never clean their own houses and could not tell you what a gallon of milk, a gallon of heating oil or a package of toilet paper costs.


Vermont Guidelines for Safe Holidays

Here’s what the state of Vermont says about gathering during the holidays:

For the period from December 23 – January 2, one household may gather with one other trusted household. That is a maximum of two households gathering during this period.
Staying home and with people you live with is still the lowest risk. Gathering with people you do not live with is not recommended for people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 or people who care for them.
If you do gather, the Health Department strongly encourages getting tested 7 days afterwards.
If you gather with anyone from out of state, everyone in both households must quarantine for 14 days, or 7 days with a negative test.
The travel policy has not changed. If you travel outside of Vermont, you must follow quarantine requirements.


A COVID Christmas Anti-Viral Holiday Special

covid christmas special

I promised you a new holiday treat for this year, and here it is: A COVID Christmas Anti-Viral Holiday Special.     It is a super cute animated Christmas story made especially for a special year, featuring a masked snowman, masked singers, socially-distanced Santa, toy shopping, Mom, and a decorated tree by a fire. And lots of mask jokes.

I didn’t set out to make a new holiday special. I was working on some Christmas card ideas and Lise saw what I was doing and suggested they might make for some nice animation. That got me thinking, and before long I was able to string together a series of card ideas into a parody of a couple of my favorite holiday films.


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Summary – December 2020

T’is the month of December. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro. Scroll down the new comments for the latest.

You can find the November numbers here,  October stats here,  September numbers here, August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


Will a COVID Vaccine Be Safe and Effective?

It is difficult for the average person to understand what they need to know about a COVID vaccine before they decide to be inoculated. The vaccine will be available within weeks or months and public health officials are urging people to get vaccinated.

Government health officials are saying that the vaccines developed have proven to be safe and effective and that the best chance we all have for moving on and living in a world not controlled by the behavior of a virus is to continue to use masks, social distance and to take the vaccine when it becomes available.

According to Francis Collins MD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it will take 80% coverage (vaccine administration) to get to herd immunity, and that is not likely to happen until the summer of 2021if all goes well.


Brattleboro Town Manager COVID-19 Update – What’s New Nov 27

 WHAT IS NEW TODAY 

• Town field services continue transitioning back to the way in which they operated during last spring’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” period. For now, the way in which the public receives those services still is relatively normal, but the work is being done in accordance with many special procedures required by the State of Vermont and recommended by public health officials. As we move into even more restrictive practices for the protection of employees and the public, we will identify those changes in future “COVID-19 Response Status” updates. 

• The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department encourages everyone to transform your front yard, apartment, or house into a bright and decorative celebration of winter! We all need a little light in our lives, so get ready to challenge your neighborhood, your friends, and your family to help us “Light Up Brattleboro.” Join us as we come together to show our festiveness and help bring joy and light into the lives of others. Here’s how you can participate: 


Brattleboro COVID-19 Update – November 20, 2020

• In compliance with Governor Scott’s instructions on November 13 for offices throughout Vermont to “reinstitute, to the maximum extent possible, … telecommuting or work from home procedures,” Town office operations have transitioned this week back to the way in which we operated during the “Stay Home Stay Safe” period in March and April of 2020. Office employees are working from home most of the time. Some employees are coming into their offices occasionally when it is necessary to accomplish a particular task or to provide a needed service to a member of the public. Since Town employees and the public we serve all have learned to transact most of our business electronically or by phone, we have found that the vast majority of our Town office work can be performed at our homes. 

• Town field services also are transitioning back to the way in which they operated during last spring’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” period. For now, the way in which the public receives those services is relatively normal, but the work is being done in accordance with many special procedures required by the State of Vermont and recommended by public health officials. As we move into even more restrictive practices for the protection of employees and the public, we will identify those changes in future “COVID-19 Response Status” updates. 


Brattleboro Town Manager Friday COVID-19 Update – What’s New

WHAT IS NEW TODAY 

• Governor Scott’s updated executive order earlier today includes the following: 

“All businesses, not-for-profit entities, and municipal entities in the State shall reinstitute, to the maximum extent possible, … telecommuting or work from home procedures… [A]ll meetings should be held by telephone or electronically to avoid in person meetings whenever possible.” 

In furtherance of this directive, Town of Brattleboro administrative offices will transition next week back to the almost entirely remote operations that we put in place during the Stay Home Stay Safe period last March and April. Starting Monday, November 16, some Town offices will be unoccupied. By Friday, November 20, most Town offices will be unoccupied most of the time. As was true last spring, some employees will come to the offices on some days just to perform tasks that cannot be performed from remote locations. We found last spring that we could adequately meet the public’s needs while performing the vast majority of our work online, via email, and by phone. 


Governor Issues Strict Order On Social Gatherings, More

Governor Scott issued new COVID-19 executive orders today for Vermonters. The big news is that everyone must limit attendance at all gatherings to members of their immediate household. This includes staying at home for Thanksgiving, with a tiny loophole for family members living alone.

Effective Saturday November 14, 2020 at 10pm it is ordered that multiple household social gatherings be suspended, restaurant hours and seating limits be tightened, and bars and clubs be closed to in-person service.

It is furthered ordered that restaurants and public accommodations keep contact logs, that the public comply with contact tracing efforts, and that recreational sports programs be suspended.

There’s more: all college students returning home in or out of state must quarantine at home, and all businesses shall reinstitute or reemphasize telecommuting and work from home.

The full text of the executive order is below.


Brattleboro Town Manager’s November 6 COVID-19 Update – What’s New

WHAT IS NEW TODAY 

• Businesses can now remotely fill out and pay for their 2021 Business License. Go Here for the link to the form and to pay online. Check/Money Order also can be mailed to the Town Assessor’s Office at 230 Main Street, Suite 109, or dropped off in the brown “Town Business” drop box in the Municipal Center parking lot. The annual fee is $50. 

• Both the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Leagues have voted not to move forward with league play this winter. However, Men’s and Women’s Adult Basketball Open Gym & Pickup Games will be offered at the Gibson Aiken Center located at 207 Main Street. This program is by donation and will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7pm-8:30pm, beginning immediately. Please note that this program is for men and women who are 18 years old and older and all participants must be out of high school. To participate on any specific evening, arrive between 7pm and 7:15pm. No one will be admitted after 7:15pm. Due to COVID-19: 


Town of Brattleboro Update: COVID-19 at American Legion Not A Risk To Voters

Town Clerk Hilary Francis learned that a person who visited the Legion last week has tested positive for COVID-19. Francis advised Town Manager Peter Elwell immediately of this information and also that someone who was at the Legion yesterday had briefly interacted with the visitor last week. Town Manager Elwell reviewed this matter with officials at the Vermont Department of Health. The department informed him that because of the circumstances of the person’s potential exposure, no one who was at the Legion yesterday was at risk, or are being considered a “close contact.” Also, the Legion was deep cleaned last weekend (as it is every weekend) and best practices to prevent the spread of germs were in place throughout yesterday’s voting at that site. 


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Numbers – November 2020

We’re in November. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro.

You can find the October stats here,  September numbers here, August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.


Town of Brattleboro COVID-19 Update October 30, 2020

Here’s what’s new in this week’s COVID-19 update from Brattleboro’s Town Manager:

WHAT IS NEW TODAY 

• The Presidential/General election is coming up on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Due to the pandemic, there is no in-person early voting in Brattleboro. All active registered voters were automatically mailed a ballot. Please make sure to follow the instructions included with your ballot, including signing the certificate envelope and making sure your ballot is inside that envelope, as well as using a black pen or pencil (not a marker). If you have not yet received your ballot, or if you have any questions about your ballot, please call the Town Clerk’s Office at 251-8157. 


Governor Scott Did What He Should Have. Is That Exceptional?

It’s true that, given the limited extent of impact and damage in Vermont from the virus, Scott has done a proper job. However he only did what any of us would do. If you recall, one of his earliest public statements was that he was in completely uncharted territory with the pandemic. He didn’t know anything more about it than any of us in the state. So he called the state’s medical team together, got a bit of an education and followed their advice. I’d like to think that all of our governors would have done the same. He was very lucky in this particular crisis to have had the federal government step in fairly quickly with a huge cash infusion that gave us all time to understand and assess the situation and choose our actions under less stressed conditions.


Donald Trump’s October Surprise

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has Covid-19. That this happened on a full moon was weird, almost spooky and very Octoberish.

I noticed no other omens however.  Last night, we watched Stella Dallas on tv and then checked news wherein we saw that Trump was on a short list to have Covid-19.  In one of those “this changes everything” ways, that news instantly blew up all conventional thinking about everything.  Not that it was unexpectable — but definitely unexpected.  We were expecting him to try to keep the White House by force, not catch Covid and potentially die.  Like I said, Octoberish.


Brattleboro and Vermont COVID-19 Dashboard Numbers – October 2020

It’s October now. Here is the continuation of daily COVID-19 dashboard numbers from the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and MA and NH counties that surround Brattleboro.

You can find the September numbers here, August numbers here,  July numbers here, the June numbers here, the May dashboard reporting here, and the April numbers here.