Hello, Friends and Readers!
It’s been a while; the COVID-19 social distancing does have that effect. Some folks have shared their news by email and telephone, for example:
A Canadian travel-club couple writes, after being stranded in the U.S. they got home safely if confounded. A friend who lives on acreage writes her propane delivery has been slow in getting to her tank: “I am tired of living in a 50-degree house!” Another friend urges me to step outside every evening at 8 PM to howl at the moon. It’s a national movement, he tells me, to show support for hospital workers and health-care givers who put their lives on the line. A woman whose small business is shuttered writes she is desperate for the promised government help to arrive.
Double-digit unemployment is predicted for California; the dispatches from Californians in the thick of the crisis make your hair stand on end. This, even though states that started social distancing early and aggressively, like California, have avoided overwhelming their health care systems. Wyoming, alas, lags behind: A women’s prison and a juvenile detention center have reported cases. My California grandchildren spend too much time watching TV or manipulating hand-held electronics, their sports activities shelved indefinitely.
What happens when stereotypes and fear about COVID-19 arrive before the actual disease does? In a video, Katherine Oung, a high school student in West Palm Beach, Florida, showed what youngsters like she and her friends face (and, sadly, Asian Americans generally) as the pandemic stirs underlying racism. It doesn’t help that some people refer to COVID-19 as “the Hunan virus.” Similar to HIV, which originated in monkeys, COVID-19 jumped from bats to humans. Deforestation and poaching are key drivers in “the spillover of pathogens from animals to people,” one Harvard public health expert wrote. When animals are caught in the wild and sold as “exotic pets,” unforeseen possibilities arrive with them. Now COVID-19 sits on doorknobs and plastics, waiting to make more of itself.
Infectious-disease experts have warned for years that outbreaks of dangerous new diseases with the potential to become pandemics have been on the rise. “The tragedy is the wreckage of a train that has been careening down the track for years,” writes Arundhati Roy of India.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres cites a sharp rise in domestic violence amid global coronavirus lockdowns. "For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest — in their own homes," he writes. "We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners. Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence."
“Masks will become the new seatbelts” texts an acquaintance. Another, who woke up to chills and high fever had herself tested at the VA Hospital in Cheyenne. It took five days to get the results, during which time she “isolated in one room.” Fortunate for her and her partner, what she had wasn’t the virus.
A former classmate I visited in December was not so lucky. Confined in an old folks’ home in a German town where I once lived, she succumbed to the virus in March.
No country is spared, but the numbers here are staggering. A link to mid-April 2020 information: United States Coronavirus: 740,151 Cases and 39,068 Deaths
Enough of today's tragedies. My family members plan a "Music Zoom" where everyone shares a song, a dance, or an instrumental piece; let's hope it becomes a tradition. Further, I have set up a manuscript project for myself, working toward a deadline of May 15. Whether the book publisher can keep above water is anyone’s guess but I proceed anyway. Where would we be without projects? I am up to my ears with proofreading and editing.