In France the numbers are frightening. With half of covid infected patients needing hospitalization, 1 in 4.5 patients dying in hospitalization and 1 in 3 patients dying in ventilation and reanimation. It’s not a good sign for the USA, France has been in a country wide lockdown for over three weeks and considering more time before returning to ordinary life. Here, we are just haphazardly self confined based on each individual’s belief in the disease and it’s contagious threat. The folks living in the hot spots areas are taking covid seriously as the deaths increase. In France, trials with hydroxychloroquine, the medication for malaria are on the way, but with alarming results. It’s seems that the medication, used together with others, result in cardiac malfunctions for some patients treated with the drug. To add to concerns about using that drug is that it seems the virus not only attacks the lungs, but also attack the heart. The medical community is working by the seat of its pants.
Notwithstanding, at daily briefings, our president is still pushing the use of hydroxychloroquine, museling his covid health advisor when question about it’s use and efficiency arises. He does not tell us about a more promising treatment like the antiviral Remdesivir, a drug that has worked on a similar virus but set aside for several years. Is it because he would profit from the other drug, hydroxychloroquine? Apparently, he does. There are memes online depicting him as a snake oil salesman, denouncing his stakes in the drug maker company, Sanofi, the producer of hydroxychloroquine.
Talks about starting the baseball season surface from the president, wishing to normalize life, is just another arrow pointing to the cluelessness of a leader faced with a worldwide pandemic, “like you never seen before”.
Today should be a shopping day as we have run out of essential staples, but we will make do until the morning, instead we will take a walk after today’s entertainment. Carolle is happy because Verdi’s Aida, is on today, and it’s one of her favorite Opera. I must say that could not agree more, the sets, The costumes and sometime the very familiar music is a spectacle to enjoy even though it’s another very sad love story. A scene looked like several hundred actors were on stage at the same time, Carolle says that’s when the chorus is really useful when the director needs bodies. It made sense to me, still I was quite impressed by the whole production. The victory parade with two cavaliers on horses and the various regiments marching behind was not only impressive but also beautifully orchestrated. Every day, after the last curtain falls, we get to meet the different cantatrices, the sopranos, baritones and tenors, the stars of the show. They give us anecdotes or talks about how they approach a scene and all kind of trivia. They make for a wonderful group of people, on and behind the scene.
We enjoy our almost daily walks and today we walked the wood path to it’s end, behind the guardrails at the end of a dead end street. Dead end for vehicles, but with a path beyond it leading to the shopping plaza. It’s a well travelled path. At that point, we took the street toward Red Mountain street, a street climbing north. For about ten or fifteen minutes, we followed, at a good distance, an older until he reached his house. At some point, even though he walked with the help of a cane, he gained ground on us. That surprised me as the hill is quite steep and we were not walking that slow. We walked further on but did not reach the top and turned around after a few minutes. We returned using the path to descend to a mostly deserted shopping plaza, taking the sidewalk all the way home. Pedestrians have always been sparse during ordinary times, but today we only saw one on the opposite sidewalk. On Red Mountain road we saw a trio of older boys play ball in a driveway, some folks on porches, a couple of guys sharing a beer by the garage door and only a few cars until we reached Main Street heading back home.
Earlier in the morning, I had gone to the post office, with my usual protection, the customers seemed too close for comfort, a few with masks and some not protected . I was glad to see masks on the faces behind the counter. I gathered the mail from the post office box and placed it as usual in a box for later sorting and cleaning. My Monk gets into gear when I bring anything home, unless I know where it was stored before covid. My new method, with gloves on, is to separate the junk mail, like all the political letters and store coupons and place it in the recycle bin, together with magazines and other irrelevant mail. The good mail goes back into the box, sprayed with ethanol and left at least two days before handling it. The mail in the recycle bin can be handled a few days or a week latter, retrieved before disposing of the recycling. Pretty anal but I think necessary. We can’t help but getting more news of drama in the government, the last one about the acting secretary of navy resigning because he relieved an aircraft commander of his duty (most likely by orders from the top), for alerting the authorities of a covid outbreak on the ship. He called him an idiot and charged him of dereliction of duty or some other nonsense, for blowing the whistle, for protecting his sailors and soldiers, our brave military. So here he is resigning and really taking the blame for the big boss, another sacrificial lamb. In New York City, covid victims are dying every two minutes, seven hundred since yesterday. If that does not scare everyone to literally to death, in the rest of the country, what will?
Early in the morning, from eight to nine, the club store I went to is reserved for senior, and I could see at the parking lot that more people wore protection, kept distances respectfully and cleaned the cart handle or wore gloves or both. There is now only one entrance to the store, and only one exit, and that’s a good idea, diminishing customer’s encounters, making it easier to keep folks six feet apart. In the store, people without protection make perhaps half, with the other half wearing some protection, most wearing masks or improvised bandannas, scarves down to a large folded handkerchief, folded in a triangle and tied around the head. The last one probably only for moral comfort than actual protection. At lest this person showed some care, if not for himself, for others. And there was the opposite laissez-faire attitude of a tall man, probably thinking that the virus laid only below his head, not paying much attention about social distancing, and wearing no protection whatsoever. He was not shopping alone, a younger man was pushing his cart, also without protection. He seemed a bit more cautious, keeping distances. He was not alone, an older couple, shopping in tandem unprotected, were wandering around the aisles as if all was normal. But couples made the exception, the majority of unprotected shoppers were singles, including the staff. Some stores in Connecticut have temperature check points before entering and crossing their door. That would be a good step to implement in the large shopping centers, but, it would only keep people suspected of being infected from entering the stores. The problem is that not everyone infected shows symptoms right away, asymptotic they can spread the virus. I know a bit about viruses having been attacked by one that nobody knew existed less than thirty years ago. Many first aid responders, were unknowingly infected by it when in contact with blood from infected people, during trauma or treatment. Until the virus was identified, like me they had not inkling that they were sick. Now everyone knows about this virus and takes precautions handling blood and bleeding patients. Since, there is medication to render it basically dead but it took several years for that to happen.
The virus was killing me slowly without showing any signs or symptoms, for years, until my doctor, prescribing a new test for that recently discovered virus, found that I was infected by it. At the time there were no medication to treat the virus. I literally went through trials and error to trial and success, finally healing with the drugs killing millions of unit of the virus destroying my body. A grueling treatment, a cocktail of three different medicines administered weekly and daily, that lasted eighteen months, and made me extremely weak. That virus changed my life in ways I could have never imagined. It did not kill me, even though it was the most severe mutation, but it tried hard. I would have been dead now if my doctor had not prescribed the test. I thank doctor Stephen for saving my life.
Doctors are working hard to save lives today, with a lack of tools and remedies and unfortunately not able to heal many infected with covid. Fort Bragg, the military base in North Carolina where my daughter is a doctor, is sending medical personnel to New York to help the stretched medical teams as the epidemic claims many victims daily. I try not to think too much about the danger she is in this pandemic, but I can’t avoid it.
Today’s opera is on to distract us, The Girl of the Golden West by Puccini, the gold rush, pioneers, saloon and cards games with cheaters, a good brawl stopped Minnie making her entrance shooting a long gun, and later on, a stagecoach pulled by a solid white horse. An elaborate set were Minnie runs the show and reads the Bible to dusty cowboys. Opera meets spaghetti westerns, it’s not my quote, this one is borrowed from the aficionados. As usual I expect nothing really good will happen, someone will suffer, death is looming, it’s par for the course. But to my surprise, the ending turns out fine, not wanting to spoil the suspense, I’ll write no more about it.
The news are not as rosy, unfortunately. Evangelist are saber rattling with China, egging the president to punish the country for covid. Those preaching for Agamemnon are pushing for a conflict with China. Looking for The Rapture? When ideology transcends politics, we are in trouble. Considering the elections are coming quickly and that the cards dealt to this president only have bluff power, smashing his legacy (the gains in the stock market) to smithereens, how can his ego be wounded so badly without him taking even more irrational steps than he has taken now. It’s a fear that should not be ignored and a situation we should never have been subjected to. Our acting president and his acting cabinet secretaries are improvising a dangerous dialogue, a modern comedy of errors that involves all of us and for which million more people will suffer.
As usual, when catastrophes occur, the most disadvantaged take the brunt of the shock. Covid is killing more minorities than the rest of the population. That fact underlines the problems these communities have to rise above poverty, when challenged by one calamity or another. Today, it’s also because of poverty that covid is more deadly for these folks. The ability to vote for these poor people if often made difficult, squashing their voice in the political world. It does not help when the Supreme Court’s decisions works to impair voting, specially now that social distancing and staying home is so crucial to attain the plateau, when contagion levels off and ceases, by refusing to postpone some elections until it’s safer for folks to get out to vote. It’s no secret that Republicans in general, don’t like too many voters casting ballots. For some reasons, they believe they would lose elections if they encouraged voting. But with the Supreme Court taking that position in a pandemic, bringing the ideology to another dangerous standard, there is no hope on the horizon that things will change anytime soon.
At dusk, April 9 2920, the numbers grow, Coronavirus Cases: 435,167; Deaths:14,797, and that’s only in the United States.