It was Easter today. It took me about an hour to realize this morning, but then I stumbled into my social feeds. I called my family, wished them a happy Easter, and did the daily “what’s new” check-up. Nothing’s new. I wish something was new, even something small.
Today felt distant. I’ve forgotten the beginning, and there’s no clear end. Two weeks ago we were glued to the press conferences, evolving to our new socially isolating lifestyles and preparing, collectively, for an ensuing tidal wave of hospitalizations…and deaths.
We apparently weren’t prepared for that.
The rate of hospitalizations in NY began to decline, weeks before the projected peak and far before any bed or ventilator shortages. It happened quickly, and quite uneventfully.
One day our leaders are emotionally rallying us, like Mathew Broderick in that final scene in Glory, leading his troops to certain death in a charge against a Confederate line.
The next day our leaders come out, looking a little perplexed, and say the number are cautiously looking good. A few more days of that news, then they came out with a shrug, patted us on the back and said keep up the good “distancing” work.
Deaths continue to rise, but that’s expected – because those who have been on ventilators for weeks are passing now. Ironically, NYC has twice as many daily deaths today as any day two weeks ago. But two weeks ago, all the papers were running Headlines about body bags in the streets and freezer trailers because the bodies were overloading the hospitals.
With the peak having been so anti-climatic, the headlines quickly scurried to new fears: a second wave in the summer, people getting reinfected after already having it, what diid Trump KNOW? The health experts, too stubborn to question the assumptions everything was built on, attribute the lack of a peak to the social distancing they’d claimed was already baked into the models that predicted 200,000 deaths. They warn that the virus is still lurking out there, waiting for us, and we have to keep social distancing until further notice.
Antibody test started finally becoming a topic in the media, unfortunately a lot of the conversation revolved around the feasibility of “immunity cards” that would allow those who have antibodies to travel freely. Yeah, how could anything possibly go wrong with that?
There have been a few mentions of using the antibody tests to do random sampling around the country and see how far the disease has actually already spread. The hypothesis being that many more of us have already had it, and come over it, then we think. But that would completely crumble the core assumption – you know, the curve that started in early March, the curve that we sacrificed our economy, our freedom of movement and our lives for.
The curve that never came.
Maybe we were wrong. Maybe the disease had come here far earlier than we thought, spread far wider than we thought and the less than 1% of the population that we tested in the US simply couldn’t show us the true extent. But that’s a maybe the experts wouldn’t waste their time entertaining.
Meanwhile, more than 16 million unemployment claims were made in the last three weeks. So while the aristocracy slips right back into their aimless squabbling, the rest of us are out here living in this new Black Mirror reality.
Today felt distant. Couldn’t see the beginning or the end. We need to be able to see an end, we need to be able to see it soon. This in-between can’t last too much longer.