The parent of a friend is a viral pathologist. Their daughter is one of many immunocompromised or otherwise high risk friends. They go silent, a fact that, honestly, terrifies me. I’m thinking of the ‘at risk’ people I know, both elderly and younger, tough fighters that have beaten cancer or other illnesses. The World Health Organization (WHO) is not even considering calling this a pandemic. I’m sure that later generations will pick our actions and inactions apart. As much as it pains me to say this, everyone is trying to do the best they can for their own interest. You can’t fault them for that, not at this early stage. But it definitely isn’t what we need today. Or tomorrow. It is a trait Humanity will grow out of. Some day?
Still refusing to say the ‘P’ word. Now 200+ cases in 12 countries, they say Italy and Iran next. South Korea is getting hit hard. We have some hard decisions to make as a family. One of our siblings in in hospice care. Her birthday is coming up. Everyone was driving/flying in to be with her. As a group, we decide to cancel. We make sure that we are good on staples and stored goods. Our freezer is full as well. So, no worries. A lot of thankfulness. We will lose healthcare workers. Not only to the virus–that has already happened and will continue to happen. We will lose them to depression, to frustration, to anger and despair. Some will walk away. We thank you all for for every second you gave for us, and wish you the very best. You did more than most of us ever did, ever could.
‘Flattening the Curve’ is running smack against ‘Get it now, get it over with. It’s not even as bad as the flu.’ I want to scream. But instead I smile and we try to navigate the critical conversations that follow. At work, we are gloves & mask optional, social distancing mandatory. I wipe down everything I touch and we all wash hands over and over and over. The gedunk is open but I don’t go. If I don’t prep it, I don’t eat it. Sabotage! A frozen bag of sweet potatoes keeps our freezer door from closing. We lose everything. Someone at work jokes that our snack fund closed because a COVID-19 infection. Early April Fool! Not funny.
We’re nearing 500k cases worldwide. After a lot of mental hand wringing, Japan postpones the Oympics, likely until 2022. Tough call but the right one. The Olympics. No matter how bad things get in the world, no matter how down I become, the Olympics are always my relief valve. My running stream of hope, of faith in the basic goodness of humanity. Guess we will have to wait. Find hope in those we interact with every day, and not in Olympic heroes. Heroes wearing masks.
End of the month, and 27th my last day of work, at work. For now. Telework, distance learning, homeschooling, and virtual anything are the new big things. I’m finally writing after weeks of emotional gobstopperitis. Two flash pieces for a contest. They stink. But I’m writing. I grab an older, third piece. It is light and silly. I edit it. Success! With the writing, the Breathing Out, comes the need to Breathe In, to read. I’m reading like there is no tomorrow. There will be. I want to be out of books when it gets here. That was a joke. I have, last estimate, enough books to last until the year 9595. We text or message or video chat friends. Everyone does. Trying to save the memes that make me laugh or smile. There are a lot. Also a lot of hate, fear and anger. I try to help stem the fear on and offline when I can. Social media is definitely a little more toxic than normal. At least it seems that way. Gallows humor?
Some of the memes circulating on social media are very funny. We need them. Each other. Because Italy is dying right before our eyes. Amazing video posted by Stephen Park of Asian Boss. His interview with Professor Kim Woo-joo from Korea University Guro Hospital is excellent. The best info dump yet, and why South Korea may have one of the ‘right’ ways of dealing with COVID-19.
I say one of, because nations are different. People are different. What works for one economy and one group won’t for another. At the end of the day we are still one world, and the old adage about the weakest link applies now more than ever. As bad as it is here, we cannot forget about those already in worse need. Donor fatigue is here. Refugee and underdeveloped nation needs are here. And nations are becoming protective of resources. We cannot let this pandemic spark a new round of famine. Please no. And people *are* stepping up.
Apart from toilet paper hoarding, the biggest impact in the United States? Shortages in the medical and drug supply chain. Our first responders are running low or out of protective equipment. And we aren’t out of the woods yet. We top 2 million cases globally. Not Huzzah. Very not huzzah. Global markets have all but imploded. There are good nuggets of news. Story to Screen Conference streamed their April 20-21 session for free. A lot of organizations are stepping up, making resources available for home teaching. There is a resurgence in tabletop, online/virtual gaming. Being a good neighbor is cool again.
BBC special “The Lockdown Diaries” is excellent
Here in the United States, some want restrictions lifted. They are pushing to rescind stay-at-home measures and allow business to reopen. The usual left-right rhetoric and vitriol follows. I have never wanted a working, three party system more in my life. But I digress. Again. Crux of the matter: Taxes fund Governments. Less economic activity = decreased revenue, increased unemployment payouts. Any government, local or higher, will eventually have to rescind pandemic slowing measures. For solely economic reasons, not for medical necessity.