Coronavirus Diary Day 62: May 13, 2020

Pennsylvania Extends Lockdown to June 4, Brazil Newest Global Hotspot, China Dodged a Bullet

Governor Wolf extended Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home orders through June 4. Having said that, he did allow certain businesses – such as construction, golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips, and privately owned campgrounds – to resume operations. He also allowed certain counties more freedoms than others. Scientifically, I understand what we’re doing here. I really, really do. But I have questions.

Some counties and municipalities in Pennsylvania have questions, too. A few are blatantly defying the orders. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

But more importantly, why are beer distributors open but liquor stores closed? I wouldn’t go to either one of those places if you paid me money (well, maybe I would, for money), because I can get all the alcohol I need delivered to my doorstep. I order my beer from my local suds maker, Workhorse Brewing in King of Prussia. I order my spirits on the Pennsylvania LCB website through a secret link that a friend shared with me (yup, that’s what I said). And The Hubs is crazy about the WTSO app (Wines ‘til Sold Out), like it’s a video game where the object is to purchase the highest quality wines at the cheapest prices before they’re gone.

Our UPS guy knows me very, very well. “I’ll just sign this for you, ma’am,” he says through my storm door window. Umkay, you do that.

But back to the closures. It’s been 2 months. If we haven’t gotten Coronavirus by now, we’re still really scared that we will, and moreover, we’re still really scared that we’ll give it to our parents. None of us wants to be in a position where we’re catching it or giving it. Simultaneously, we have shit to do. And, livelihoods. So how’s about Pennsylvania reconsiders what it deems essential (big box stores) vs. what it doesn’t (Mom and Pop boutiques that almost never have more than 2 customers in the store anyway, and sometimes 2 customers during the entire day). Explain to me why my local independent bookstore can’t open. Really, give me a good argument for that.

I’m afraid of COVID-19. I don’t want to be sick. I don’t want anyone in my house to be sick. I especially don’t want my older relatives to be sick. I’m not going to take unnecessary or irresponsible risks. And I’d venture to guess that most people are like me. We’ve been socially distant rule followers for the past 2 months, because we understand the science and we largely agree with it. We’ve educated ourselves over the past 9 weeks. Moving forward, we can make our own decisions regarding our personal behavior.

If you’re afraid that I’ll go out and potentially spread Coronavirus to some poor unsuspecting nursing home resident, I promise you, I won’t do that.

France ended their lockdown yesterday. I’ll remind you that I tutor English (via video conferencing) to French people. One of my students got his braces off today. Another goes back to school tomorrow. And another invited a friend over to his apartment this afternoon. Look, the USA is nowhere near the place in the “curve” where France is. Our country is the size of the whole of Europe, and our large-scale community spread seemed to have happened a few weeks after Europe. So, I’m not actually proposing that we reopen the country.

I believe that people who can work from home should absolutely continue working from home. Business, meetings, and gatherings that can be done virtually should continue to take place virtually. Everyone should wear face coverings in public places. Group events should be extremely limited. But for the love of God, can we please let our local businesses reopen and our citizens get back to work?

Feel free to disagree with me, of course. I’m trying to look at this from every angle.

Ryan’s high school graduation is rescheduled for July 21. I highly doubt it will be a traditional ceremony. There will be distancing and masks and maybe it will happen in smaller groups throughout the day. But we won’t know any of that until a few weeks before. In this pandemic, we’ve learned patience and versatility.

As for numbers, the new global hotspot is Brazil. In the past 24 hours, the country registered 881 new deaths as a result of COVID-19, making it the highest death toll for a single day. Their total death toll is now 12,400, with 177,589 confirmed cases. This makes Brazil the sixth most affected country behind the USA, Britain, Italy, France, and Spain. Furthermore, Brazil is only testing people who enter the hospital, so their actual case number is undoubtedly much higher than they can report.

Globally, 293,764 people have died from COVID-19. There are nearly 4.4 million confirmed cases.

In the United States, 83,455 people have died from COVID-19. There are 1.4 million confirmed cases.

Nearly 1,000 people have died in Philadelphia from COVID-19.

China is the most populous country in the world with nearly 1.4 billion residents. It’s also where the virus originated. Surprisingly, when compared to places like America and Spain and Britain and Brazil, China has only reported 4,633 total deaths from COVID-19 and 82,926 confirmed cases. So, wow. Good on you, China. You really dodged a bullet.


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