Such a different holiday season, the reason for the season remains the same | Tim Talk | Tim Hunt | |

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By Tim Hunt

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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Such a different holiday season, the reason for the season remains the same

Uploaded: Dec 24, 2020
Today is Christmas Eve and, like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day tomorrow, likely it will be strikingly different than any other.

Traditional activities, including lunch with my daughter at the Rotunda restaurant overlooking Union Square in San Francisco, were scrapped by the combination of the stay-at-home order and indoor dining ban. My bride did, however, prepare a splendid meal for us last night with the fine china and crystal to replicate something close to our Rotunda outing.

Simply stated, the tree is up and decorated festively and my bride has her other decorations throughout our home, but my mind struggles to wrap itself around the reality of the calendar. It helps that my favorite TV music channel is wall-to-wall Christmas music.

We will have a much different spin on the traditional Christmas Eve worship services. GraceWay Church will gather, socially distanced and masked, in our parking lot late in the afternoon—reservations required. Making a reservation to attend a worship service is another “first” in reaction to the pandemic. It flies in the face of doors being open to all, but such are the times. Fortunately, as I observed in an earlier blog, at least we can gather now that the Supreme Court has slapped down New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and indirectly our own ruler, Gavin Newsom.

Gathering to celebrate the birth of the infant Jesus—fully human and fully God—is at the center of our family Christmas traditions. And that’s as it should be. His birth determined the calendar we live by and there are more than 2 billion followers on this globe.

My normal rule, learned by hard experience, is to shutdown any serious news Christmas week and New Year’s week—people simply aren’t paying attention. I violated that Tuesday because the Chinese spy tie to our local Rep. Eric Swalwell demanded a timely response.

So, today’s core message is a simple one: Hope lies in Jesus and his Heavenly Father. It’s the only rock-solid foundation in the world we live in.

Merry Christmas

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Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Dec 24, 2020 at 10:24 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

Our church is having Christmas Eve services on the church front lawn this afternoon. Reservations for church service does seem odd, but our lawn will hold a few hundred people (with social distancing) and we don't expect that many.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 24, 2020 at 9:05 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.

In the spirit of the season, in the spirit of free speech, in a spirit to support small businesses, especially the restaurants, my family had a large meal at a restaurant in the Tri-Valley area (outside) tonight (Christmas Eve) and it was wonderful. The owner is fined everyday, but is refusing to close. Talking with him brought tears to my eyes. I've listened to the regulars that have commented over this long period about ‘just wear a mask and stay home.' But when I listened to this restaurant owner all I can think about is how they don't have the financial security to stay home and wear a mask. I have to believe that these insane ignorant commenters must have a guaranteed income to be so arrogant. I encourage everyone to support these brave owners by having a meal there. By doing so you are pushing back on the horrible leadership of Gavin Newsom and are doing your part towards helping the restaurants and employees keep going. Give them hope.

Posted by Michael Austin , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Dec 24, 2020 at 9:13 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.


Have you signed the Newsom recall petition?
if not, it is available on line for down loading.
You can sign it and send it in.

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 25, 2020 at 10:19 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

@ Michael Austin

Thank you for asking Michael, yes we have. Merry Christmas.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Dec 26, 2020 at 10:23 am

Kevin is a registered user.

Tim, spreading rumor about Swalwell having a sexual relationship with Chinese spy with Tucker Carlson as your source! You call that serious news! You not only broke your own rule, you also committed a sin as a Christian and perhaps more importantly as an elder at GraceWay church.

I am sure your pastor has had sermons about spreading rumors as a sin and about not being just a Sunday Christian (or in your case, Christian during the week of Christmas). We need to try our best to be Christians 24/7/365.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Dec 26, 2020 at 10:34 am

Kevin is a registered user.

To Jake, the health authorities owe us and small business owners (not just restaurants) explanation why some businesses are shutdown while others like Home Depot, Costco and retail stay open without any restrictions (except for mask as far as I know). We all need to understand the logic and data behind these decisions.

At the same time, our congress and Trump are failing to do their job of helping individuals and small businesses that are impacted by Covid.

We also need to recognize the seriousness of the pandemic and recognize the pain of healthcare workers and families that are going through this horrible experience and do our part. One person is dying of Covid every 10 minutes in Southern CA. see link.

Web Link

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Dec 26, 2020 at 10:50 am

Kevin is a registered user.

Here is a post from a local Bay Area ER doctor:

We are sadly setting records with regards to diagnosing COVID infections, admitting patients with COVID disease, and with the numbers of deaths related to this coronavirus. Long but worth reading so you understand other sides of the topic.

This year has been hard, oftentimes in different ways for different people. Economic hardship, social isolation from friends and families, loss of jobs or job insecurity, working from home, distance learning. The list is long. And many of us joke about saying goodbye to 2020, though I fear that the start of 2021 will be worse than what we've experienced in 2020 to date. I have this fear because of my experience caring for patients in the hospital. 

As many of you know, I am an emergency physician. My ICU colleagues are overwhelmed and overworked right now, and I am also helping out in the ICU to care for critically ill patients. I am happy to play my part and happy to work with my colleagues, so that we can provide the best care possible for patients. But please know that while we are and will continue to care for you and your loved ones, we are exhausted. The past 9 months have been challenging for many of us on the home front, and have also been challenging for many of us on the work front too. 

The emotional toll of our jobs is significant. For many of us, there is the incessant fear of infecting loved ones or our children's care providers, who are watching our children so that we can go to work each day. And most of us are unable to quarantine to allow us to safely gather with family, so the social isolation is unavoidable. I have been living with a near-constant level of unease since the start of the pandemic. And this is not taking into account the experiences I have had taking care of patients with COVID infections. On my most recent shift, I had a patient with COVID-19 die in the emergency department. My colleagues all have similar stories to share. And my ICU colleagues have probably carried the brunt of this emotional toll, as they are caring for the sickest patients, many of whom ultimately die from this virus.

One thing that I don't think many people realize is the significant delay between exposure to this coronavirus and when patients are discharged from the hospital. As many people now understand, there is a long incubation period (2-14 days) between exposure to the virus and the development of symptoms. People are often sick for about a week or so. For those who get sick and will need to be admitted to the hospital, this often happens within the first 2 weeks of illness. Once a patient is admitted to the hospital, many gradually become more sick over several days or a week, at which time they will then require ICU level care. And for the unlucky patients who are admitted to the ICU, they are often there for several weeks. If you then step back and think about this (often) slow progression of illness from a public health and resource allocation perspective, you may start to see the rub. It is not challenging to care for the few patients per day who are admitted with COVID infections. But if you then realize that the patients who were admitted several weeks ago, are still in the hospital and/or in the ICU, you start to understand why this slow progression of illness is incredibly challenging to manage when thinking about our finite healthcare resources like hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators, nurses, physicians etc.

As with most of the major holidays this year, we expect to see infections continue to rise over the coming weeks, as families already gathered for Thanksgiving and the December holidays. There were undoubtedly people with asymptomatic COVID infections who have now infected their friends or loved ones. And while I know that this is true, I also hope that we can now limit the number of infections going forward. If we can start to take our social distancing seriously and wear masks religiously, we can prevent or slow infections in the days and weeks to come. 

I am hopeful that with vaccinations of healthcare workers and high risk individuals, we will be able to start protecting some of our society's higher risk individuals. We do need your help though. Please socially distance. Please wear masks if you choose to gather with people outside of your household. Please rethink and perhaps refrain from activities that may put you or others at risk of infection. We need your help to get this coronavirus under control so that the number of admitted patients with COVID does not exceed our healthcare resource capacity.

Posted by Diana Champlin, a resident of Vineyard Hills,
on Dec 27, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Diana Champlin is a registered user.

I always enjoy reading the Pleasanton Weekly. I love to read about the wonderful things people are doing in the community. We are blessed to have so many kind and generous people spreading goodwill especially throughout the holiday season. I also enjoy reading about events that are going on around town. I am proud to be a resident of Pleasanton.

Tim, you often share your good work with the community also. However, the last couple of articles you wrote were political and divisive. They didn't spread joy during the holidays; they were meant to disparage others. I felt like I was watching FOX news. I believe your articles would have been better viewed in the opinion section. I'm tired of the constant back and forth between both parties and I don't expect to read that nastiness in the Pleasanton Weekly.

Posted by Michael Austin , a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Dec 27, 2020 at 5:33 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The Pleasanton Weekly and Embarcadero media are left leaning publications.

Tim Hunt writing his blogs here is welcomed by the right leaning minority in this community.

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 28, 2020 at 9:34 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.


I realize you believe that all deaths are related to the China Virus, but you really need to step outside your comfort zone and listen to the sources that are trying to break through the huge censoring umbrella. You can die in a traffic accident, a gunshot to the heart, suicide, or something else, but if you have the slightest particles of this virus- then you died of the virus. There is enough sources coming through if you look. You have a greater chance of developing bacteria pneumonia by continuing to wear a mask than of something else- it's was prominent during the 1918 Pandemic.

Don't forget to sign the recall.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Dec 28, 2020 at 5:50 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

Jake, please share these sources that are trying to break through the censoring umbrella. As far as I know, the only people in your camp are Trump supporters and QANON believers like Marjorie Taylor Green, Georgia Congresswoman. She tweeted that she believes a Waffle House CEO about Covid not spreading in restaurants.

Web Link

I really want to know what you use as your source!

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Dec 28, 2020 at 6:09 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

Michael Austin, Pleasanton Weekly and Embarcadero are part of our great American free press!

They balance by giving Tim Hunt and Tom Cushing a forum to blog. I personally think Tom is way above and beyond Tim in knowledge, experience and capability.

This is opposite of Rupert Murdoch's Fox and all his newspapers which are Trump state news media. Everybody else is fake news. Fox got into trouble with Trump and his supporters when they called Arizona for Biden on election night. They made up for it by spreading his conspiracy theories about election fraud. Now, Fox and Newsmax are back tracking because Dominion (election software company implicated in the conspiracy theories) is threatening law suit.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Dec 28, 2020 at 6:49 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

Regarding my post above from a Bay Area ER doctor - she put up a new post answering questions from readers.

ICU Capacity: I hear that our local hospitals have ICU capacity.
To be honest, I do not know what ICU capacity means. Perhaps someone with a public health or disaster management background could answer this question better. I do know that all hospitals have surge plans and there are many levels to these plans. We blew past our “typical" ICU capacity weeks ago. We have a 20-bed ICU. That is full, as is our ICU overflow unit. We are now putting patients in other areas of the hospital. All of these patients are currently managed by our ICU team. Perhaps the "ICU Capacity" number is the maximum number of patients that any hospital can manage, with regard to space, ventilators etc, before care starts to be rationed. I truly hope we do not get to this point.

Older and Sicker Patients are the People Dying:
By the numbers, older individuals are more likely to die from this illness. They are also more likely to choose to forego intubation or aggressive measures to prolong their lives. Currently and anecdotally, the sickest patients I have seen are 40-75 years old. These are the patients intubated in our ICU right now. (I have also admitted 30 year olds and many who are older than 75).

Treatment Regimen: How Well the New Regimens Work
Patients are all getting the standard regimen for treatment. There is no silver bullet that “fixes" or cures all patients. These medications are helpful but most hospitalized patients do not “recover quickly". Most gradually worsen and then gradually improve. For some, these medications probably help prevent them from needing ICU-level care. Even with these medications though, most admitted patients still require oxygen through a nasal cannula, and many go on to need high flow oxygen; some will then need CPAP and the ventilator. For those who can be discharged from the hospital, it is quite common for them to have ongoing respiratory issues after the illness. Many go home (or to a rehab or nursing home) on oxygen. There has been and will continue to be a lot of morbidity related to this infection.

Posted by Sean, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 28, 2020 at 9:32 pm

Sean is a registered user.

Mr. Hunt's article is more than thoughtful and a bit passionate. He speaks to larger social truths rarely addressed by Governor Newsome and other politicians in the state. And Mr. Hunt does so with credible sources and well-founded arguments.

Newsome uses lockdowns as a way to express a sense of control when, in reality, people are extremely, extremely unlikely to die of COVID. And, yes, the virus is spreading. That's what viruses do. What happens every flu season?

COVID is certainly worse than the flu, and we should be conscious of certain populations and take sensible precautions. But these lockdowns are draconian in nature. And visits to the French Laundry epitomize Newsome's hypocrisy as well as the actions of other political leaders and celebrity types who blatantly flaunt their hypocrisy.

Sadly, Newsome has weaponized fear under the auspice of COVID. And in doing so, he has jeopardized the well-being of millions of Californians for the next decade at least.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Dec 29, 2020 at 8:26 am

BobB is a registered user.

I think a lot of us need to count our blessings and stop complaining so much about small inconveniences. People are really hurting out there. This virus has caused a lot of people to lose their jobs and businesses. Even worse, more than 335,000 have died of it and many more have been hospitalized.

There is so much to be hopeful for! Vaccines are here and more an more of us are getting them. This time next year we will celebrating like we did before. Let's hang together and get through this.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 29, 2020 at 9:50 am

BobB is a registered user.

@Jake Waters,

Once again what you are repeating about masks is completely false and dangerous. It has been debunked many times, for example here:

Web Link

"Dr. Anthony Fauci and colleagues did write a 2008 paper determining victims of the 1918 Spanish flu died from bacterial pneumonia brought on by the flu. Masks are not mentioned anywhere, whether as source for the bacteria or otherwise."

"Fauci and his co-authors explain that primary infection influenza could have made it easier for bacterial pneumonia to thrive and kill patients since the virus would have wrecked the body's physical and immune defenses, an observation shared amongst the scientific body."

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Dec 29, 2020 at 11:28 am

Kevin is a registered user.

Jake, still waiting for your sources -see above. Unless your buddy Tim's garbage post today is all you have.

Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 30, 2020 at 7:35 am

Malcolm Hex is a registered user.

@ The following: BobB, and Kevin from Castlewood.

The Spanish Flu (New York Times March 20, 2020) A left leaning rag. Read on:

“On Sept. 17, 1918, Royal S. Copeland, a homeopathic physician, was appointed New York City's health commissioner. He arranged with businesses to stagger work hours. White-collar offices would open at 8:40 a.m. and close at 4:30 p.m.; wholesalers would start their days earlier, non-textile manufacturers would start later. Stores selling food and drugs were exempt.

Schools, he reasoned, were often more sanitary than housing, particularly in the slums. New York City schools, moreover, boasted a well-established system of child health monitoring and care. Copeland, accordingly, KEPT THE SCHOOLS OPEN. In addition, Copeland also allowed certain theaters to reman open.

More pertinent is the fact that New York's death rate per 1,000 residents was 4.7, a figure dramatically lower than that of comparable cities �" Boston's was 6.5 and Philadelphia's was 7.3."

So, New York's death rate was significantly LOWER than that of comparable cities. Huh, imagine that. And SCHOOLS and BUSINESSES remained OPEN. Least I forget that NY, as well as the rest of the country back then, did not have hygiene standards that are in practice today. Also, NY had better leadership from its mayor and governor compared to the two idiots that currently serve there now. BTW, that goes for California too.

Oh but wait! Here is the best part!

Kevin from Castlewood blames Trump for for our current predicament regarding the Spanish Flu. Interesting. Interesting because Woodrow Wilson (a Democrat) was President of the United States in 1918. Here's more from The NY Times article:

“The virus arrived on Aug. 11, 1918, aboard the Norwegian vessel Bergensfjord. The ship had wired ahead that 10 passengers had taken ill and three had died at sea. The boat was met at the pier by ambulances and health officers, who whisked the sick to Brooklyn's Norwegian Hospital. On Aug. 16 the Nieuw Amsterdam out of Rotterdam made landfall bearing 22 stricken, and on Sept. 4 the French liner Rochambeau brought in 22 more. The city's Department of Health placed the afflicted in isolation at the Willard Parker Hospital on East 16th Street and the French Hospital on West 34th.

On Sept. 15, 1918, the first death from what was being called the Spanish influenza was recorded. (There was nothing Spanish about the supremely contagious disease; it was rampant among all Europe's combatant armies and countries, but under reported, due to military censorship, except in neutral Spain, where coverage was unchecked)."

Well, well, well... Looks like the Chinese did their own form of censorship too, right Kevin?

President Wilson, as well of the rest of the country, knew the flu was rampant in Europe. Yet Wilson allowed travelers from Europe entry into the United States. When Trump attempted to stop flights coming in from China, Pelosi called him a racist.

I do not blame President Wilson or President Wilson for past and current deaths related to the pandemic. But I will say this: Thank you President Trump for Operation Warp Speed!!!! And I'm sure President Wilson would have done the same thing had he had our technology back then.

Kevin, you might want to stay in your little fortress up there in la la land. But should you venture out, take comfort in the fact knowing that we are moving ahead... At “warp" speed.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 31, 2020 at 5:26 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"Malcolm Hex",

I don't know why you are posting to me. I was talking about a crazy claim that masks cause pneumonia.

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