Day 15

It’s day 15. It’s been over two weeks since I began sheltering in my NYC sized apartment. It’s Friday. Oddly, I still feel an intuitive excitement for the upcoming weekend, even though it will just be the same day I’ve experienced 15 times now (minus the parade of conference calls for work.) 

There’s over 26k confirmed cases in NYC now, and total (so far) deaths rose to 450 today. A harrowing vide from Elmhurst hospital in Queens, which has been the hardest hit by coronavirus cases, gave a sobering glimpse into the chaos of this city’s frontline stand against the virus. It’s a stark contrast to the ghostly streets of a city on lockdown – which deBlasio hinted, today, could remain through May. 

It’s only been two weeks. This siege feels like it’s been going on for months. And they say the worst is yet to come…

I’ve been spending a lot of time on, comparing the rate of increase in confirmed cases against new tests given. The correlation is obvious, which fuels my frustration with a media that hypes only the rise in cases without offering the context of rise in testing. “Rate of growth,” and “increase in cases” are common headlines in the media, but never “increase in test.”

I wonder if it’s intentional. 

A new confirmed case doesn’t mean a new infection. It’s obvious covid had been spreading, widely, through NYC through February. There is an undeniable surge at the hospitals, but with a 5 day incubation period and average 7 day from onset of symptoms to hospitalization…the surge today were infected 12 days ago. So the question remains when will that surge peak and begin to decline. 

I hope this is the peak. The media and politicians tout models as they say this is only the beginning and the peak is weeks away. That doesn’t make sense to me since we’ve been social distancing for two weeks now, and we’ve still only tested 5% of the state (with PCR tests, so we’re only identifying actives cases, not those who had it and already recovered). How you can model a curve without knowing when the curve began is suspect to me, but the truth is no one really knows. 

There’s a collectively unspoken gloom permeating in the city, but there’s an equally as tangible resilience accompanying it. Tonight at 7pm there was a coordinated 2-minute clap throughout the city for the essential workers pulling us through this: doctors, nurses, grocery store employees and delivery people.

Scattered around the city, my friends and I text “imprisonment” jokes back and forth all day. When I walk Gizmo, people’s masks bend with a smile as they pass – the familiar smile 3.5 pound Gizmo always elicits as he trouts down the sidewalk.

But underneath the attempted masquerade of normalcy, emotions are hard to balance. Some of my friends are being laid off, or furloughed, and when I see all the closed restaurants, boutiques and local stores closed on 3rd ave I wonder how many of them will ever open again. But then I hear the stories of the bulging hospitals, think of the suffering patients, nurses and doctors, and realize there’s only sacrifices to choose between. Squeezed between two bad options.