Coronavirus Diary Day 78: May 29, 2020
Over 100,000 Dead in America on Memorial Day, Violence in Minneapolis
I started keeping this Coronavirus record exactly 11 weeks ago, on Friday, March 13th. I was enjoying the last ski weekend at our vacation house in the Adirondacks with The Hubs, Ryan, and Ryan’s best friend since the 1st grade, Eric.
We have just celebrated Memorial Day Weekend with stay-at-home orders officially still in place. We went back at our vacation house in the Adirondacks, the 4 of us – The Hubs, Ryan, Eric, and me – for the first time since the weekend of March 13th. We visited The Hubs’ parents several times, in lawn chairs placed 6 feet apart. They are both nearing 90. They wanted to hug us and close-talk with us. They wanted to do the same with their other children and their grandchildren. They wondered why we were all so comfortable greeting each other warmly while they needed to stay apart from us. We felt their emotional discomfort like the edge of a cliff on our heels. It wasn’t nice, but. It was nice.
The 4 of us – and the dog, of course – spent the other parts of our weekend fishing, hiking, boating, jogging, shooting, eating, and drinking. We almost forgot that we were living in times of Coronavirus. Really. We didn’t watch the news or scour the Internet, and where we were, we saw no one other than family. We existed in a world without face masks, without political accusations, and without fear.
The world is opening up again. Not in the ways we had hoped for some 11 weeks ago, but we managed our expectations, and that was a good start. Pennsylvania Governor Wolf announced this week that all counties will be moving into the “yellow” on June 5th. Furthermore, restaurants will be allowed to reopen with outdoor dining. Facemasks are still recommended. Some businesses are still closed. But, we’re getting there.
People complain that America is opening too soon, that we’re a bad example to the rest of the world, that we’re inviting a second wave. Other people complain that America is not reopening fast enough. They protest that our basic rights to freedom are being denied, that our lockdowns are political moves to divide a country.
The truth is, America is doing all the same things Europe is doing. We love to think of ourselves as unique, but we’re not. On Monday, France will allow restaurants to reopen. Children are already back in school. People may return to their offices. In Italy, families are attending Sunday services together. In Barcelona, people flocked to the beaches this week as restaurants reopened with outdoor seating.
Brazil is right behind America. The country is experiencing devastating losses of life right now, and in a few weeks, they’ll discuss how to reopen their economy, too.
None of this says a second wave isn’t inevitable. I mean, I hope not, maybe not, but yeah. A birthday party in Spain at the beginning of the month has been linked to a sudden spike in Coronavirus cases. All 20 people who attended the party became infected, and the Lleida area saw the number of new cases rise from 45 on May 13 to 142 on May 21. I mean, this is a highly infectious disease, people.
At the same time, I’m really fucking sick and tired of my dinner rotation. There’s only so much chicken I can put into my body. (With that said, I’m trying something new next week. Eyal Shani of Miznon has published his signature Israeli recipes. I ordered the ingredients from Wegmans. Family, prepare yourselves for a flurry of culinary, quarantine delights!)
Anyway, some time back, as Coronavirus was taking hold in our great nation, I talked about the drop in overall crime rates and my prediction that anarchy would grip us by July. Well, with over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths now confirmed in the USA, it seems we’ve reached the start of something explosive. (As I type this, there’s some shit going down in Minneapolis that I’m not ready to discuss without perspective.) I’m holding steady on my prediction that July could bring epic levels of crime, political tension, racial tension, and violence. But I’ve always been a bit of a pessimist.
With that said, I deliver numbers:
Worldwide confirmed COVID-19 cases / deaths:
5,945,209 / 362,920
USA confirmed cases / deaths:
1,771,631 / 103,417
New York State confirmed cases / deaths:
376,309 / 29,653
Pennsylvania confirmed cases / deaths:
74,318 / 5,425
Philadelphia County confirmed cases / deaths:
22,100+ / 1,258 (54% from long term care facilities)
On a positive note, TGIF. Not that it matters. But oh! The dog can get his hair cut next week.