I skipped day 20, just because. Today was day 21, and after three full weeks of anxiety I’ve come to the conclusion that no one really knows what’s going on. Two weeks ago the CDC was shaming everyone for wearing masks, saying they were not useful in stopping the spread. Today, they gave new guidelines that we SHOULD be wearing masks when outside – but don’t take the N95’s or medical grade ones. No, no…instead, they advised, wear a scarf or bandana around your face.
Almost simultaneously, all across America, people began sewing cloth face masks. By the time of our daily 5pm call, my mother had already been to JoAnn’s to get fabric.
It’s a testament to the American spirit. Most of us want to do something, anything. We’re listening (for the most part), we’re distancing, we’re dealing with the upheaval of our lives over the course of the past few weeks, in stride. We’re adjusting, we’re adapting, we want to do everything we can. We want to help. Which is why my Facebook feed is filled with uplifting pictures of face masks being sewn and delivered to nurses on the frontline.
That’s the beauty in this. That’s the part of America I love.
Every night at 7pm New York City erupts in cheers and clapping as a city under siege steps on to their balconies and roofs to express it’s gratitude and support for the front-liners. It’s a city that wants to be on the front line fighting alongside them, but can’t, so it’s listening and looking for anything it can do to help in the fight.
The beautiful part is that when the experts say everyone needs masks – America starts sewing masks. The insane part is these are the very same experts who told us two weeks ago that masks could inadvertently spread the disease, and we shouldn’t wear them.
9 million Americans filed for unemployment over the past two weeks. 9 million.
Today’s reactions could have reverberations for decades. Fear is this virus’s most potent offensive, it’s overwhelmed what we need the most right now: reason.
There’s been a lot of talk about the new serological tests in the media lately. I’m crossing my fingers the momentum and awareness continues, I really think they’re one of the keys. No model can accurately predict a curve if you don’t know when the curve started.
The highlight of my day is my walk. I take it in the evening, right around the time I’d normally be walking home from the office. It’s my daily exercise. Before this I was walking 6 or 7 miles in an average day. Now I spend the majority of my day in my 600 square foot apartment. Solo exercise is okay under the city guidelines, but I still feel guilty sometimes.
I never thought I’d feel guilty for taking a walk.
In one way it felt normal walking today – the masks, the emptiness, the boarded up shops, the quiet. These are all just thinks I expect now, the world we’re living in.
In another way, now that the initial shock has finally subsided, I can see beyond the virus’s spread, and more deeply into the way the virus has terraformed our lives. There’s no end in sight. The experts keep lengthening (and hedging) their “open back up” dates. How long will this go on, and how long until this new world becomes just normal now?
It’s day 21. It’s only been three weeks since this all started, but that pre-Covid world already seems so far away. I thought today about how much of that world we’re forgetting, how much we might forget by the time this all ends.