2011 film ‘Contagion’ compared to COVID-19

In 2011, the film Contagion was released. The film is about a virus that, started in China, and spread rapidly throughout the world causing people to get sick and die.

This description is eerily close to the current 2020 pandemic that’s caused by COVID-19.

Starting off, both the viruses attack the respiratory system and have extremely close symptoms. According to cdc.gov, the COVID-19 symptoms are: cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell. 

In the film, Dr. Mears, a doctor from Minnesota, is given the job to investigate the virus but ends up catching the virus. Her symptoms were that she couldn’t breathe very well and had a tight chest. She was coughing a lot and she had fever along with chills. She didn’t go into more depth, but in the film, you can see other people that caught the virus shared the same symptoms and died usually by seizure.

Next, both viruses came from bats. There is no clear answer as to how COVID-19 started, but most scientists say, and believe, it started from a virus that bats carried and then transferred to someone from Wuhan, China. This then developed into something more dangerous that was passed onto other humans. 

In the film, a fruit had fallen from a bat’s mouth into a pig pen. The pig then ate the fruit and there, the virus started developing. The pig was then slaughtered and brought to a casino in Hong Kong, China where the cook touched the pig and didn’t stop to wash his hands before holding someone else’s.

The pandemic in the film and in reality both put the whole world in chaos and had extremely close similarities, but there were also things the film did differently. Beth Emhoff, the first case of the virus in the movie, went home to Minnesota and gave her family the virus. Her son passed shortly after she did, but we learned that her husband was immune. Currently there isn’t a known person that’s immune to the Coronavirus.

Also, in the film, people died within a day to 3 days of getting the virus, whereas COVID-19 seems to have a 2 week incubation period. People would get seizures and their mouths would start to foam as they die in the movie, but there hasn’t been any reports of seizures due to COVID-19.

Contagion and COVID-19 are extremely similar, but thankfully it’s not exactly the same. The film had it much worse, but the things leading up to the chaos were eerily close. 

How to keep up with your mental health in quarantine

I think we all know how difficult the quarantine has gotten, and we need to focus on keeping ourselves in the best state of mind.

Try to stay optimistic and keep looking forward. Dwelling on mistakes clouds the mind. It’s important to stay in the present, and look towards the future instead of the past.

It’s important to stay relaxed during this time. Avoid stress as much as possible as this can be as damaging to the mind as it is to the body. Most people know stress can cause anxiety which, if severe, can lead to depression.

But, what are some physical symptoms of stress? Mayo Clinic Staff has reported that stress can take a toll on the body just the same as the mind. It can cause eating disorders, muscle pain, body aches, continuous exhaustion, problems sleeping, and stomach pains.

It’s important to loosen up during the day; working can make you tense. While doing homework, or working on something that requires much focus and time, it’s always a good idea to take a break and assess how you’re feeling. Do something to relax yourself, whether it’s watching tv or getting a snack. Take time to get away from the task at hand and ease your mind from the work.

It’s just as important to keep your body fit as it is your mind. Try to devote some time in your weekly schedule to a bit of exercise. According to healthybrains.org it can be great for sleep problems and it’s known to b e a way to give you a boost in your mood.

Not only does exercise help the mind, but it does wonders for your health. Being active lowers your risk for getting heart disease as well as other heart problems. Maintaining your body weight healthily is also a good way to stay fit. 

Though we may need to stay at our homes, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some fresh air. Going into a backyard, on a balcony or porch, or even cracking open a window to feel the breeze are all fresh air options that are quarantine approved. It’s not always fun to stay cramped in a house for so long, a sweet gust of air can bring up your mood, especially during this beautiful spring season.

Any way you may be getting a taste of the outdoors, remember to stay cautious and keep a safe distance.

Are old video games just as good as new video games?

In finding out if old video games are just as good as new video games, we have to cover many video games.

There are many points of view on this topic, and with evidence, this agreement could go either way depending on the game or even the system it is played on.

In what I have seen, I think old video games are just as good as new video games. This revolves around nostalgia; it is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past. Even though old video games have worse graphics and other flaws, nostalgia fills in those flaws by having good memories about that game.

Also, old video games can be just as good as current games because of the characters, plot, or even they’re just as fun to play. And, according to a non-scientific study, old video games are actually slightly better.

There will always be good and bad video games, and older isn’t really better or worse than current video games.

In the end, it depends on how you determine “better or good.” Do you want better graphics? Do you want an interesting game play? Want tactical combat? These are only some of the things you can base your opinion around.

In my opinion, old video games are just as good as new video games.

Online school

Recently, it was announced that Minnesota schools will be finishing out the 2019-2020 school year online. This means we will all be checking Schoology until June 9, doing various assignments, discussions, and tests for every class. Here are a couple of positive and negative things about the distance learning program.

One of the main benefits of doing online school is having flexibility for whatever tasks, and things that need to be done, while in quarantine. Instead of having one class after another in a timely manner at the school building, during online learning you can decide to eat lunch or walk your dog in between classes because it isn’t as structured as normal school.

Along with that, school most likely does not take you seven hours per day, as it normally would. Hopefully, this leaves everyone with more free time to go outside, relax for a little bit, or get other things done.

In addition to those benefits, another positive thing is that you do not have to do classes in the order of what your normal school day was like at school. This means you can choose to start with an easier class to just warm up your brain, or get harder assignments done earlier so that you can take on small, maybe even fun, assignments at the end.

But when there are positives, there are usually also negatives.

One of these cons is that it is harder to stay motivated and on task. Unlike at school, there are many more distractions and challenges you may face at home including: pets, electronics, and even the nice weather outside. This means that there is more responsibility on you to check Schoology often and to make sure work gets done and turned in on time.

Another negative effect of online school is that the internet and technology is the foundation of distance learning. The program is heavily reliant on the internet and using devices, such as your school iPad, to be checking and sending in responses and assignments daily.

Not only that, but when school is done online, you don’t have friends sitting next to you as they normally would in some classes, maybe making it lonelier, and even harder for some people.

What to look forward to on Disney+

It’s been six months since Disney+ launched, and it already has 50 million paid subscribers worldwide.

Already offered in fourteen different countries, Disney+ is still expanding to different places around the world. According to Kevin Mayer, the chairman of Walt Disney Direct to Consumer and International, they are expanding to Western Europe, across Latin America, and to Japan this year.

Even though COVID-19 has stopped production of their TV shows, we still have a loose outline of the shows and movies coming out on Disney+ in the next year.

The dates of Mulan, Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, Soul, and Artemis Fowl were all pushed back, but are hoped to be seen in theaters and Disney+ by the end of the year.

Besides movies, they also have many TV series for all ages like: High School Musical: The Musical, The Series; Diary of a Future President; and Timmy Failure. 

On the Marvel side of everything, Disney has many shows coming out in 2020-21. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is coming out sometime in August and a WandaVision releasedate has yet to be given, but it’s said to be coming out this year.

Next year, Disney will be coming out with the Loki mini series, Hawkeye, Moonknight, Ms.Marvel, She Hulk, and Marvel’s What if…… These are all TV series adding to Phase 4 of the MCU.

Besides Marvel content, Disney has also been working on Star Wars content. With the release of Disney+, they released the first season of The Mandalorian, which will be coming out with a second season in October 2020.

They have also have in the works, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor solo shows that will be coming out next year.

Recently they have come out with the last season of The Clones Wars which just ended.

To keep up with everything new on Disney+, you can follow Disney on YouTube, where they put out a monthly video telling you what’s coming out.

Helping small businesses

During these times, there are a lot of people struggling. There are many ways that we can help these people who need us. Small businesses are having some troubles with maintaining pay and keeping up with rent. So, here are some good ways to help these small businesses. 

There are certain small business owners who have made gift receipts or gift cards available to keep buyers coming. Some other places are making gift baskets or bags to carry out to cars. This is a great way for business owners to keep transactions moving and a great way for us to get ahead on birthday and holiday gifts! 

A nice way to help out is to offer volunteering if you can risk working outside of your home. There are a few places that are offering carry out jobs. Just make sure, that if you decide to do this, that none of the people you’re around have pre-existing conditions or have a low immune system. 

Another nice way to help out a local shop is to leave a positive review on Yelp and on Google Location review spots. On March 24th, Yelp made a collaboration with GoFundMe so you can leave a good review and send some cash to your local businesses at the same time. 

You can tell your friends and family about how you are trying to assist a small business so they can help out too! Finding ways to post online, or even writing a suggestion in chalk outside, can really make the difference. You never know who might be looking to help too! 

The last thing you can do is a very good and easy way to just spread positivity and hope. You can find the address of your local place and send them a nice card or something to say thanks. Kindness can really go a long way. 

During these hard times we all need any help we can safely get, so make sure there are no negative vibes!

Stay hopeful, stay safe, stay positive! It will be okay!

Seniors missing graduation

Since the start of COVID-19 seniors have been a bit on the depressive side. Many seniors, including my own brother, have been in a panic when it comes to long distance graduation. My parents and my brother have been on the spectrum of trying to get prepared for the day of his virtual graduation.

When it comes to it, most of the seniors I know are really hurt right now. They’re upset that they are not able to have the graduation that they have been longing for their whole lives; the day where they are finally free from the whips of high school and are on to their new lives going on to be adults.

Not only are the seniors upset, but so are their parents and siblings. As a sibling, I’ve always awaited the time where I got to record my older sibling walk across the stage in their cap and gown. But since COVID-19, I am not able to have that experience. It’s also upsetting to my parents because they’ve longed for the day they were able to send my brother off to prom, and to see him walk across that stage.

Not only are seniors upset about graduation, but they were also upset that they weren’t able to have their prom. I’ve spoken to a couple of the 2020 graduates themselves and asked for their input on the matter.

Willie Wright Class of 2020 graduate 

I first had a conversation with none other than the man himself, (my brother) Willie Wright, a graduating senior at Como Park Senior High. Willie is a 2020 graduate with a football scholarship to Minnesota State University.  He said, “It’s so crazy because every other class year such as 2001-2019 got to walk across the stage, and I’m not able to. Those are the most memorable moments in our life. Even prom, and I wasn’t able to have that, hopefully this will all be over soon.”

Chaniyah Fenner Class of 2020 Graduate 

I then had the opportunity to speak with Chaniyah Fenner, a senior also at Como Park Senior High. She said that, “I am upset about the virtual graduation. I don’t like it at all, I understand that there’s a virus going on and everything, but they already took away our prom and senior night, and now they’re taking away our graduation. It’s just messed up.” 

William Albert Class of 2020 Graduate 

I then reached out and spoke to William Albert, who attends Gordon Park High School. He said, “I hate the thought of not being able to walk across the stage, but knowing there’s a strong system of people behind me who are willing to bend for my education, it drives me to do better and prosper moving forward.”

With all of this going on, at least the seniors have something good to look forward to. They get a graduation speaker, who is none other than the man himself, Barack Obama (which is something really amazing).

But I just hope that all the seniors aren’t too upset about this, and I hope they still have a great graduation at home.

How COVID-19 is affecting animal shelters across the nation

There is no question that COVID-19 is changing the world. COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives. While a majority of the population is in quarantine, and sheltering in place, many people have found themselves bored and lonely. One change that was not anticipated is the change in animal adoption rates. While people are stuck at home, many people are adopting and fostering shelter dogs and cats to keep them company. 

As coronavirus spreads across the U.S., an increasing number of people have stepped up to foster and adopt animals, keeping them out of shelters. 

According to NBC News, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has seen a 70 percent increase in animals entering foster care in New York City and Los Angeles programs compared to this time last year. Adoption centers like the Riverside County Animal Shelter have a beautiful problem according to Wired; they are all out of adoptable animals.

Well, why are people adopting animals now? 

The real reason is no mystery; as people are practicing social distancing, many have decided now is a perfect time to bring an animal into their home. As reported by Wired, some shelters have put out calls for people to adopt, but others have found that this surge is completely organic. An upwelling of kindness and care from the community plays a large part in helping these animals and shelters. People who didn’t have animals because of their work or travel schedule, or problems similar to these, now can adopt which is another cause for the surge. Many shelters have also waived adoption fees to try to ease financial strain on new pet parents affected by COVID-19. 

Wired further reports that animals can have an important role in brightening people’s lives, especially in a time like this. Although pets can’t completely fill the void left by isolation from other humans, they do provide emotional support. Pets fulfill the human need for touch and offer significant relief to people’s stress and anxiety levels. Pets can even lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels leaving you feeling better. Animals like dogs are also able to motivate people to stick to strategies to help with isolation, like daily exercise and structure. 

However, it is not all good news. There is an increase in the amount of people surrendering their animals because of financial struggles, or because they are too ill to take care of them.

If you are looking for ways to help your local animal shelter, adoption and donations (like food and other important materials) are great ways to help. 

‘Parks and Recreation’

Parks and Recreation is a 2009 comedy show about a woman named Leslie Knope working in the Parks & Recreation department of her local government in the city of Pawnee, Indiana. She believes strongly in government, unlike her boss, Ron Swanson, who believes all forms of government are a waste. The two main characters of the show are total opposites and are still friends, which leads to a lot of comedic interactions.

This show is made in a fake documentary style like The Office, so there are often random interviews with the characters so we get to see what they’re thinking. However, unlike The Office, the camera crew following them around is never addressed and never had any relevance on the plot; it’s just used to let the characters monologue.

One of the strongest points of Parks & Rec is the believability of the situation. There’s never anything supernatural going on; it always just remains funny with a few people working in local government. Not only that, but the plot progresses between each episode really smoothly, so you can see the cast always working towards a goal. However, each episode is also contained, so you can skip the episodes you don’t like on a second viewing and still understand what is going on. 

Another great thing about this show is the characters. Andy Dwyer, played by Chris Pratt, is an absolute treasure, and fills the role of the sweet man child that could not have been cast better. There’s also April Ludgate, who plays an apathetic intern whom Ron takes a liking to because they both hate their job. Ann Perkins is Leslie’s best friend, and they meet in the first episode during a public forum, which also kicks off the show‘s end goal: creating a park behind Ann’s house.

However, this show is not without its flaws. The only character that is really unique is Ron Swanson and maybe Andy, but Andy only works so well because he’s played by Chris Pratt. Also, this show can be a bit insensitive, specifically surrounding Native Americans. There is a gag in the show about the history of Pawnee settlers and Natives and how it was super bloody, and even though it’s played off in the show like it’s a bad thing, it still makes fun of it. Also, the only Native American in the show is a stereotypical casino owner. Parks & Rec isn’t racist or anything, but if you are sensitive about Native American history, then skip this show.

All in all, Parks & Rec is really good. The characters are really funny, you don’t really see repetition until the seventh, and last season (which you should skip), and the way the show develops is better than most television shows.

My final rating for this show is 9/10.

Desserts to make during the quarantine

By: La Dafia Dehaney

Looking for something to do or bake while under quarantine? Try these eight different desserts that will keep you busy and have you baking them over and over again.

  • Oreo Cake It’s a moist cake that is covered with Oreo whip cream frosting and is made up of chocolate layers with crushed Oreos in them.
  • Cheesecake is made of a mixture of Philadelphia Cream Cheese combined with eggs, flour, sugar, and water. The bottom layer of the cake is crushed crackers or cookies that you combine with butter and sugar. The toppings are usually strawberries or any type of berries. 
  • Trifle is an English dessert that came from England in the 18th century. This dessert is made with any type of fruit you want, and it has a layer of sponge fingers soaked in cherry.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies originated in the United States. This dessert will include a dough that is made with butter and both brown and white sugar. You top it off with your pick of chocolate chips.
  • Ice Cream Cake is filled with ice cream and layers of sponge cake or cookie crumble in between them.
  • Apple Pie is just filled with apples that you combine with brown sugar and cinnamon and toss it up. It also includes a crust that you can make with water, butter, flour, and sugar.
  • Cinnamon Rolls are made up of a dough that is rolled into small portions and in between are sugar and cinnamon. You then bake it and top it off with some cream cheese and powdered sugar mixed together. 
  • A Banana Split is an ice cream dessert, it usually has a sauce of chocolate, strawberry, or caramel that you drizzle over the ice cream. You finish up this dessert by topping it off with some whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top.