Coronavirus Diary: October 1, 2022

President Biden declared the pandemic over. Wishful thinking?

Is Biden correct that the pandemic is over? Not exactly. His words made it unclear what the remaining public health problems are, including long Covid, and what exactly needs to be done about them.

My grandson’s nanny returned from vacation and she and her husband ended up with Covid. As soon as her husband tested positive, she went home but despite her masking, my grandson caught it anyway. Luckily, he already had his first two vaccines or I would have been panicky. He had a bit of a runny nose for a day or so and that was it. Then my daughter-in-law tested positive – again. She had it once before. She didn’t really have any symptoms though. On the other hand, my son had a terrible sore throat and fever and he didn’t test positive until a few days later. So in my family at least, the pandemic ain’t over!

Reading Nana Loves You More by Jimmy Fallon

I got my flu shot as there is apparently a bad flu going around the dorms at the college where I work. I’ve heard conflicting information on when to get the new Covid booster, anywhere from 3 to 6 months after the last booster or after you had Covid. Since I’ve had pretty bad reactions to most (ok, only to the first three Moderna vaccines) I didn’t want to do the flu-Covid combo vaccine special. I was going to New York for Rosh Hashanah and didn’t want to take a chance on having a reaction that would prevent me from going. October will be six months from my last booster so I’ll be making an appointment for next week, after Yom Kippur.

Hurricane Ian

I have lived in southeast Florida for about forty years, and have lived through my share of hurricanes. I was in NY and heading home the day before the storm was supposed to hit. I was very nervous about flying into a possible storm but thank you, JetBlue; they got me home safely with minimal turbulence. Then the storm took a turn west, and we were out of the “cone”. We were still under a Tropical Storm Warning though, and the lightning was unending and spectacular.

My nephew and his family live in Cape Coral, and my sister-in-law & brother-in-law live just outside Tampa, and one of my co-workers recently moved to Ft. Meyers, so we were worried about them as they didn’t evacuate. Cape Coral and Ft. Meyers took a direct hit, but while they have considerable damage to their homes, no power or water, they are all safe. So far 21 people have died and that number is sure to go up. The storm took a turn back east towards Orlando, then back over the Atlantic, and landed in South Caroline as a Cat 1 storm. More devastation. So far, it looks like the barrier islands off the west coast of Florida took it the worst, with the bridge to Sanibel Island destroyed in three places. They had to get people off the island via helicopter or boat.

I was surprised that the Florida governor was asking for Federal aid. He voted against sending aid to NY after Hurricane Sandy. Guess when it’s in his backyard it’s a different story, so after threatening to send more Texas immigrants to Joe Biden’s house in Delaware, DeSantis did ask him for money. Florida is going to need all the federal dollars we can get; turns out most people on the west coast didn’t have flood insurance. DeSantis, Once a ‘No’ on Storm Aid, Petitions a President He’s Bashed

I was not surprised to learn that Chef World Central Kitchen was serving thousands of people the day after the storm. That’s where I sent my donation.

Chef Jose Andres, World Central Kitchen activate hurricane food supplies for storm victims

Book News

I was delighted to see this article celebrating the 75th anniversary of this beloved children’s book. My son insisted we read Goodnight Moon every night for at least two years, and my daughter loved it as well although she liked variety in her nightly bedtime stories. Several years ago, I was invited to speak to the Rhode Island Library Association. I extended my stay for a few days as I’d never been there before. My husband joined me and we visited the Rhode Island School of Design – they had an exhibit on Clement Hurd, the illustrator of Goodnight Moon, and several other children’s books. They recreated a life-size “great green room” and we got to sit in the grandma’s rocking chair. They also had many of the earlier drawings from this book and others, the rough drafts up to the finished pages. It was a nostalgic, enchanting exhibit and I loved it, especially as my children were pretty much adults by then.

Voters Oppose Book Bans in Libraries

Polling Shows Voters Oppose Efforts to Remove Books from Libraries and Have Confidence in Libraries to Make Good Decisions About Their Collections

Reintroducing Book World

The Washington Post had discontinued their book section several years ago, but I’m so happy they are bringing it back! There are a few articles about their history and what’s changed. Fun reading! (for me at least, and maybe for you?)

The Washington Post’s books section starts its new chapter, in print every Sunday and with a refurbished and revitalized presence online

Book World began on Watergate’s heels: A look back at the early days: Michael Dirda recalls a time of typewriters and landlines, of putting together a section that captures the joy of literature and the love of reading

Food News

French Toast, part of my “soft food” rotation (my husband had his second gum surgery yesterday,) became part of my daughter’s final in her Photojournalism class. It is a recipe I mostly made up in my head, so I had to guesstimate the amounts of ingredients. She photographed the process from beginning to end, and her photos made me look like a food star! French toast anyone?

Challah French Toast


  • 1 lb. loaf Challah bread, unsliced
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup cream (or 1 cup half & half!)
  • Zest from one small orange
  • Zest from one small lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Unsalted butter
  • warm maple syrup & fruit, for serving 


  1. Slice challah about 1″ thick and lay out on a sheet pan without overlapping. Leave out for several hours (overnight is best) or if you don’t have time, bake on a foil-lined sheet pan in a 250 degree oven for about ten minutes. You just want the bread to dry out a bit.
  2. Leave oven on and arrange bread slices in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Put the foil-lined sheet pan back in the oven.
  3. Whisk together milk, cream, orange zest, lemon zest, cinnamon, salt, eggs, and egg yolks in a bowl until completely combined. Pour egg mixture over the bread. Let stand for a couple of minutes; turn bread slices, and let stand until egg mixture is absorbed, about 4 minutes altogether.
  4. Heat a large nonstick griddle over medium heat. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in the griddle, then brush butter over entire surface. Arrange as many bread slices as will fit comfortably on the griddle, then cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. As slices are finished, put them on the sheet pan in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining bread.
  5. Top French Toast with warm maple syrup and sliced fruit (I like berries & bananas, but Trader Joe’s frozen berry mixture or berries & cherry mixture are great; I keep bags of those on hand.) And don’t forget the side of bacon! Or breakfast sausage, if you prefer. We really like Morning Star Farms vegan breakfast sausage, too.

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe.

*Thanks to The New York Times and The Washington Post for allowing me to “gift” my readers with free access to these articles, a lovely perk for subscribers.

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