So, I was sitting at the dinner table, trying to get some remote work done and I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye, out the window. I looked over and saw a black bird, a crow, standing on the antennae of the neighboring building.
Ok. Great. A crow. I felt like it fit really well with the current mood in the city and the country. We are the new Italy. We are the new global epicenter of death and coronavirus related destruction, so a crow seemed really appropriate. Hell, the scientific name for a crow is even “corvus”. Coronavirus.
But then he turned and looked at me and I realized the fucker was holding half a hotdog in his beak.
He hopped around, turning this way and that, as if he was gloating over his prize. He must have realized I was watching him because he stopped and starting eyeballing me. He tipped his head back and forth and then decided to move to safer ground, just in case I felt inclined to go out the window after him to challenge him for his hotdog.
The fact that the crow was holding half a hotdog in his beak just made the imagery better for me. Here was a representation of death holding a hotdog and chilling outside, the American coronavirus mascot.
I could almost hear him screaming, “HOLD MY BEER! USA! USA! WhooooooOOOooo!” as he flew up and away, out of our control.
I talked to a guy on the phone for work and he said that he was still going to the park and I guess that’s fine. That’s allowed. But it just seems so dangerous to me. Not just for him, but for his kids and anyone else he comes in contact with at home. The parks aren’t officially closed but the number of cases and the number of deaths in New York City is skyrocketing. 222 people died on Saturday in New York City. I miss going out but I’m happy to just watch the world pass by from my window until the pandemic dies down to reasonable levels. I’m not interested in becoming a casualty.
There are a lot of stupid people posting online about how COVID-19 is “just like the flu” or “no worse than the flu”. That’s not just a stupid thing to say, it’s also a dangerous thing to say. Downplaying the severity of the illness and making people think it’s ok to go out in big groups is going to make things worse and drag the whole thing out longer than it needs to. It’ll kill more people.
The death rate for COVID-19 is much higher than the average flu. The average death rate for flu is about .1%. The average death rate for COVID-19 is 4.7% worldwide (as of today, 3/29/2020 at 7PM EST). 4.7% of the US population is 15,510,000. So, obviously, COVID-19 is a lot worse, and it can hit young people too, not just the elderly. Then, all it takes is having some underlying condition that you might not even be aware of for your entire immune system to be overwhelmed. Then you wind up as just another statistic.
The $2.2T dollar stimulus deal the US government passed is a joke. It’s not even a stimulus. It’s another corporate bailout designed to protect the stock portfolios of the wealthy. It’s like all of these politicians forgot that the way the economy stays healthy is by increasing the spending power of the lower and middle classes. Money has to be flowing from the bottom up, but we’ve had a problem in the US for decades where the money that flows up to the top isn’t coming back down. Trickle down economics is a lie. Anyone still pushing it has an agenda and that agenda isn’t to make America and the American economy strong. It’s to line someone’s pockets.
This probably all goes back to the shift in the US economy from being an industrial economy to being a service/financial (creating money out of thin air through financial bullsh*ting) economy. We don’t make anything here anymore. Not in any significant amounts. Finding something Made in the USA is like finding a four leaf clover. And now we’re suffering because of it. The world is suffering because of how much we’ve outsourced to other countries, especially China.
China gave us COVID-19. Then they turned around and sold defective face masks to the Netherlands that were used in their hospitals where COVID-19 is being treated. Then they gave defective testing kits to the Philippines.
Made in China. It already meant “low quality”. Now it means “dangerous” too. But I don’t really blame China. China is playing the Capitalist game that the West pushed on them.
We have created a system that drives people to create companies that are as exploitative as possible, with no loyalty to their workers or the country that they got started in. It’s disgusting. I’m not pushing the idea that we need full-on Communism, Socialism, and Fascism, but I think we need to move back towards a point where we as a nation, and the Financial parasites in particular, have a sense of loyalty and duty to the country and their workers.
Workers should share in the success of a company. I saw an interview once with a Japanese CEO of Japan Airlines in Tokyo. He was absolutely shocked by how much company executives make compared to their workers. He felt that he made a good amount of money and that there was pride and prestige in his position. He felt a responsibility for his employees and lowered his pay along with theirs during the aftermath of the 2008 recession.
We need that in the US. Something is broken. Companies are getting a bailout again and the peasants are getting a trifle that won’t even, in many cases, cover the rent and basic utilities. If this goes on for another month, people are going to need another check from the government and they’ll need one that’s substantial enough to actually make a difference. Or the hit to the housing economy is going to be substantial.
I can see the train station from our window. It looks pretty dead out there. It’s normally packed at this time of day. I’d like to go downtown even if it’s just to walk around, but I don’t want to take the risk for no reason. Maybe tomorrow? I don’t know. Probably not.
It’s not that I miss the people. Of course I like seeing other people, but mostly I just miss the sunshine, fresh air, and exercise. I’m going to be dying trying to get back to my previous fitness level after this is all over. I could go to the park, sure, but I’m just not interested in inhaling someone else’s coronavirus breath while following them down the track. Central Park was packed last weekend and I don’t expect that to change unless the parks are shut down.
I also miss Chinese food. I don’t care what people say. I’m not eating out anywhere and I’m certainly not eating out at a Chinese restaurant until the pandemic subsides. But damn I miss those egg rolls, that pork fried rice, and roast duck!
I really don’t see things being back to the way they were by Easter. I’m not expecting to see full churches any time soon. Not like Trump wants. China had Hubei province in lockdown for months before they finally reached a point where there were no more cases of local transmission of the virus. In the US, we’re not even close to achieving that. We don’t even know how many people have it because we still don’t have the capacity to doing the testing we need to do. Plus, some States are obfuscating the number of deaths by attributing the cause of death to something else like pneumonia or SARS.
It’s going to take even longer for New York City (and places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle) to recover and get back to normal than it will for the rest of the country. The city is an international travel hub. Face masks, gloves, and social distancing might stay the new normal here long after it stops being a thing in other parts of the country.
The more I read about the coronavirus impact in the United States and here in New York City in particular, the less inclined I feel to go outside if I can avoid it. I think the numbers below speak for themselves:
That’s about a 1% death rate here in New York City. I think the average globally is 4.5%. It’s a good thing governments are taking measures to isolate people. Even if only 1% of Americans died, that would be 3.3 million people. And it would definitely be worse than that because hospitals would be overwhelmed and people with other illnesses would be denied service due to lack of capacity, causing even more deaths.
That being said, grocery stores are listed as essential for a reason and I had to head down to Key Foods and Antillana today. As nervous as I am about contracting coronavirus, I was pretty stoked to get outside the house for a bit. I’d actually considered going to Trader Joe’s at Union Square yesterday. I need ghee and they don’t sell it around here. But I changed my mind. I don’t want to get on the train just for ghee. I guess it’s a good thing I did, because they shut down that store when an employee tested positive for COVID-19. I probably dodged a bullet there.
The situation at the local grocery stores was about how I expected. They were almost fully stocked. No surprise there. While I was shopping, both stores were actively restocking the shelves.
There were a few things still out of stock, like some brands of flour, ginger at Key Foods (but not at Antillana), some canned beans and canned vegetables, and ground beef at Key Food for some reason. I didn’t even bother to look at the toilet paper and soap aisles because we still have plenty of each.
When I got home, I stripped everything off down to my drawers and then washed my hands. I put away the groceries and then washed my hands again. This stuff can live for hours on surfaces. I wonder how long it can live on my jacket or pants? Maybe I should be throwing everything directly into the washing machine.
I thought about saving my face mask to use a second time but decided to just trash it. We aren’t going outside that often and we have quite a few. It would be pretty stupid to get coronavirus from reusing a face mask.
Anyway, I’m trying to find things to keep myself busy. I want to spend a bunch of time playing video games, but mostly I’m just writing my blog entries and studying foreign languages on Memrise. The rest of my time is cleaning, cooking, some more cleaning, and trying to stay abreast of current coronavirus news. Reading too!
It’s really amazing how fast a day can go by. Even during the coronavirus shutdown there’s not enough time in the day for everything I want to do.
I was reading the news yesterday and I saw that Cuomo had come down to New York City over the weekend and had expressed some concern over the numbers of people that were gathering in city parks in close proximity to each other. Like I predicted, he threatened to shut down the parks if people don’t start practicing the 6 foot physical distancing required by social distancing.
We can still go out. We can leave the city if we want. We can still get groceries and wander around for exercise. We can buy lotto tickets and hit the liquor store. There are lots of people out walking around like nothing is going on. It’s really weird. A weird contradiction.
I guess I thought a quarantine would require people to stay in their houses except for medical emergencies. Perhaps that’s what other people were thinking too and that’s why so many people were panic buying and stocking their pantries with weeks and months of supplies, because what we’re doing right now doesn’t make sense if it’s meant to stop the spread of the virus.
Every trip to the grocery store is a trip into an enclosed area where sick people might be. Checkout requires interacting in close proximity with someone who has been in contact with dozens or hundreds of people over the course of a work shift. When our car is up and running again, I’m going to go on a huge shopping trip so if this goes on for a few more months we can minimize contact with other people.
Each trip on the train is putting yourself in an enclosed space with poor ventilation, often in physical contact with other people. I haven’t been on the trains in a few days so maybe things have changed since last week, especially now that the 100% shutdown of non-essential businesses is in effect. Maybe not?
The numbers seem to be exploding, but all I get from this is that we should have started testing sooner and we should have shut down businesses and started social distancing sooner. We tried to put our pinky finger in the hole when the damn was already crumbling. Too late now.
And is it really smart to keep people inside? I can’t help but wonder if anyone in my building has it. The air in apartment buildings travel from apartment to apartment. If one person gets it, it’s going to run through the entire apartment building more than likely.
President Trump has lost his mind again
It’s hard to believe, or I guess not that hard to believe, that Trump wants people to just go back to work anyway as soon as possible, regardless of the virus and the consequences. He would rather just say to hell with it and tell Americans that millions of people are going to die due to the hospitals being overwhelmed, but that’s ok as long as the economy picks up again. Essentially, he’s prioritizing the stock market and rich people’s portfolios over the lives of American workers. That’s complete trash.
Instead of telling Americans they’re on their own, the government needs to cut those Trump Checks. And not just based on 2018 tax data, but for every single American citizen. You don’t even have to be a socialist to understand that not doing it is bad for the economy. And you don’t have to be a stable genius to know that putting Americans in a position where millions will die would be worse for the economy than the quarantine.
Silver lining to coronavirus shutdown:
getting more reading done
leveling up my cooking skills (cookies pictured above, for example)
more progress in learning Japanese, Spanish, and Tagalog
finally doing yoga again
even playing some video games
I really want to ride my bike down 7th Avenue since there’s no traffic to speak of (if the Twitter and the news are accurate), but it’s not worth the risk. I don’t want to end up on a ventilator in an ICU because I wanted to ride my bike. I’m going to be pissed if I get coronavirus and didn’t ride my bike down 7th Avenue, though.
The number of cases is supposed to peak in 14 to 21 days. It can only get worse before it gets better, but hopefully, if we stay inside as much as possible, we’ll weather the pandemic.