Masked menace

The number of confirmed cases topped 1 million over the weekend.  “Confirmed” cases is a bit of a joke though, because there are not enough tests to determine who has the virus and who doesn’t, and there are plenty of stories of people who have all the symptoms, but they don’t meet the criteria for testing[i] . This is a huge problem because some benefits, including employer paid sick leave, is only granted to people who can prove they have the virus. So we’re in a situation where there are many people who are carrying the virus, some very sick and some showing only mild or even no symptoms at all, that cannot get tested, and cannot receive the assistance they require and for which they ought to be eligible.  So they continue to go to work because they cannot afford not to go. These could be farm workers, postal workers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, anyone who still has a job to go to and who cannot work from home. It’s a terrible situation.

With all this to worry over, I’ve tried to abide by the social distancing rules for weeks. But this last weekend I broke the rules and invited my mother and step father over for dinner. I did this because the idea that my mother was a smoker for 50 years makes her particularly vulnerable to the virus, and if she does contract it, it would be a death sentence for her. I needed to see her, and my step dad too, because I couldn’t imagine that I would never see them again, either of them.

As more states have enacted ‘stay at home’ orders, military checkpoints[ii] have appeared along roads at state boundaries. This comes as waves of people from New York city, a major hot spot with 3,048 deaths (as of this writing), have been fleeing the city[iii] to stay with family or at second homes in less densely populated areas. This poses a great problem, as the fleeing masses can carry the virus into those communities, and such tourist areas rarely have the medical capacity that larger cities do. Urban dwellers fleeing to rural areas has been reported all over the country as Chicagoans retreat to Door County, Wisconsin[iv] and Californians flee to Idaho resort towns. [v]

The CDC now recommends that everyone wear a cloth face mask. This is meant to protect others from you, in case you have the virus but no symptoms, rather than protecting you from others. Cloth face masks can’t filter the virus from you inhaling it, but it may reduce the amount of droplets that you express as you talk, cough and breathe. I have enough quilting supplies to make masks for myself and my family when they venture out. Other people with fewer resources or perhaps more ingenuity, have taken more desperate measures to protect themselves. [vi]

If your cosplay is suitable for this pandemic dystopia I think you ought to wear it everywhere. Fashion has lost all meaning now. What can beauty magazines write about these days? Here’s the matching sweatsuits your can wear while you stay home in your stylishly furnished apartment.

Here are some things I did not consider doing before the shutdown, that I have now done:

Giving Mark a haircut. It turned out pretty well.

Having Mark remove a mole from my back with a razor blade since my dermatologist is closed for office visits.

Seeing the neighbors playing with their kids on the street and going out to join them.

Baking brownies from hot chocolate mix in the back of the pantry because that’s all we had.

Going for a walk around a park with a friend on a Sunday because being outside is the only non-essential place we’re allowed to be.

Having a video chat with my lady friends.

Making and wearing cloth masks when running errands.

Rationing toilet paper.

 

Hope you are able to stay home and or stay well.

[i] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/us/testing-coronavirus-pandemic.html

[ii] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/us/coronavirus-rhode-island-checkpoint.html

[iii] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/29/world/europe/rich-coronavirus-second-homes.html

[iv] https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-vacation-home-travel-xxxx-20200406-rxoinkh6w5dspep4qqjswtms2m-story.html

[v] https://www.npr.org/2020/03/30/824021984/a-resort-town-becomes-a-covid-19-hot-spot-and-says-stay-away

[vi] https://www.facebook.com/groups/604230789639685/permalink/3076941519035254/

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