By C. Tillman
A looming grey cloud coming from off in the distance. I remember wishing this wasn’t going to be bad. It was though- even worse. Then it began-sharing what I read and what I heard on CNN (clown’s nemesis). Clown, you ask- well we shall save that for the follow up article, should I write another.
Covid-19, arrival date January 15, 2020 (3 months, 1 week and 2 days ago). What you were doing when you learned? Did you take it seriously? Where on the scale did you fall: alarmist, slightly nervous, ambivalent, clueless, indifferent or kind of scared? I held off for a bit, but an alarmist I became.
As a self-proclaimed news whore—I often heard clown say this would be nothing while hearing quite the opposite from journalists, reporters and health experts. “Fake news”, said clown, was making more of this virus then it warranted. Currently rocking a hard 887,787 cases, surely to crack 1 million by the time I complete this article, Covid-19 warranted every report.
If you’re not up to speed, in my state of California, 1,469 have died from Covid-19. In the US 40,457 deaths- surely to break 60,000 soon.
I was alarmed for good reason. Wearing masks, unable to see others smile, frown, or look plain, I think to myself, never ever could I have been alarmed enough for where this virus has taken us. Millions of lost jobs, plexi glass and no contact. It’s a lot for anyone.
As an “essential” person, I’ve watched the transition of Southern California first hand, all while adjusting my mental stability to each new mandatory rule. I’ve watched society adjust, conform and sometimes not. I’ve watched businesses change just to stay afloat. I’ve watched others completely shut down. As of today, 26 million people have claimed job loss since this began. According to NPR, the U.S. Labor Department says current unemployment is at 23%. Think of it, almost a fourth of the U.S. workforce is not working. Families with bills, all without a paycheck until unemployment compensation is provided.
I’ve seen boarded up bar & grills, popular restaurants, mom & pop stores even a few selected Subways (the sandwich shop). I assume some owners thought the risk was too high. Life or death versus losing money and or the business.
Today is April 30th, 2020: unemployment claims increased by 3 million since I wrote last, now totaling 30 million, according to USA Today. An estimated 24-30 oil tankers are sitting on the horizon of the ocean not even 21 blocks from me. The US is in a bear market. Once again, this is a lot for anyone.
The new normal: social distancing and facial masks. Can we also talk about the 6 feet social distance markers in essential businesses? Some, believe it or not, still do not have markers. In the beginning, store workers would ensure the rules were followed-stand on your marker! Now not so much. I’ve experienced many strays who ventured into my “safe’ space. I’ve never been a fan of infiltrators to my personal space, but now “case” worthy thoughts enter my mind. They say we can smile with our eyes. Let’s just say, I’m not smiling.
Don’t get me started on our beautiful SoCal beaches. I love a good beach day, tanning, kite surfers, crashing waves and sea smells, but respect the mandate is what I chose to do. When the mandate was loosened, I still abstained from going. Between being an essential worker and doing my own personal grocery shopping, why add another risky behavior? Others, not so much, leading to yet another shut down of our beaches.
To be honest, the mask was kind of the deal breaker. Those under the age of 2, those who cannot remove the mask on their own accord and those who cannot breathe are exempt from the mandate. Does it work if you just say I can’t breathe? “I can’t breathe!” Also, wearing the mask really did open my eyes to how often I need gum. Winter scarves, handkerchiefs, ski masks, masks with dual air chambers, N95s, designer scarves, surgical masks, homemade masks, masks made for smaller faces, but worn by larger (mouth covered only), and how about no mask at all. Or, the double mask. What the heck and why?! I guess we are just lucky most have embraced the mask even when it hits 90 plus degrees in Southern California.
Well, I’ve seen it all. Some adhere to the mandates understanding the reality, while others do the opposite. Some want to talk only Covid-19 and some want nothing of the sort. Some have lost loved ones and some don’t know a single person who even got sick. This juxtaposition is just one of those things that is hard to wrap our heads around.
The possibility of a second wave, 30 million and growing out of work, a potential economic disaster like most have never seen, growing food shortages, no vaccine in the near future, lack of testing and as of today April 30th, 2020, according to US Covid-19 Stats, 1.09 million cases, 128,000 recovered and 63,538 deaths, clearly the end is not near. What will you do, what will I do, and what will we do when it does end? How will we feel, act and carry on after it all of this? How will we be permanently changed as a free society?
Some important lessons to extract from this Covid-19: families have learned to bond or bond less; teachers should definitely get paid more-much more; health professionals and first responders- HEROES; saving 3-6 months of income- solid expert advice; the environment is cleaner when humans are not in it; animals are happy to have their space back; most importantly-you now know gum and mints are all of our friends.
Stay strong everyone and please-stay home.