A perceived lack of control permeates my life and a wave of overreaction washes across everything.
The latest News brings updates, mostly of the Virus’ spread.
It’s yet too early for even minor promotions of Hope and Promise to go unmolested.
Today, a little more ground was again lost to the Pandemic’s hold.
There is an overarching sense of loss and helplessness in the community. People wait.
A SINGLE local case and all THIS.
I live in Santa Cruz, California; upon the coast known elsewhere since the 1820’s for its perceived flakiness and more recently, Liberalism.
Life around here has changed.
By 5.00pm the usually increased rush-hour traffic down 41st street is less. There are fewer people around.
The high-speed frantic commutes to Silicon Valley are diminished. Companies are stressing working from home.
When I venture out in the evening, restaurant traffic is light and quiet. The onset of bustling activity fueled by freshening Spring weather has stalled. Parking is available and convenient.
Hereabouts, waiter service is quick and readily accessible. Servers are keen to chat about their slowed business and its sudden decline though last weekend and now more so each passing day.
Last Saturday I ran by Ferry from Alameda across the Bay into San Francisco. Visible human activity is massively diminished.
The streets there are open, barely sprinkled with pedestrians. Ghirardelli Square seems unpopulated. Cable cars leave the Terminus half-filled yet bathed in sunlight. The eternal lines and waits for trolleys are gone.
The temporary Saturday market at the Ferry Building was unusually quiet; it packed-up and disappeared without trace well before 4.00pm.
A State of Emergency was declared by a somber San Francisco Mayor a couple of weeks ago. An Emergency without a single incident of the virus on record.
Declarations of Emergency quickly earmarks available funds for those who raise their hands early. It’s hard to know the difference between selfish grabs and wise proaction. We can only hope for the best as there will be typically poor oversight of follow-on spending.
Hyper-vigilantism to Pandemic risks is the norm. OVERreaction is generally SAFE to promote, as only UNDERreaction is historically retroactively scrutinized or Proven Wrong.
Immediately the virus was announced in Wuhan, it’s prospects for Global spread seemed clear.
Withing days, maps of China lit up recording new cases blossoming within and throughout her borders. Containment immediately seemed an improbable dream.
Concurrently, disconnected contamination cases sprouted in Europe, epitomizing uncontrolled spread.
International (Six Nations Rugby) sporting events were soon and suddenly postponed in Italy and France. Gatherings of 5000+ people were then outlawed in France.
Italy appeared to head the list of Virus activity. Soon France shut down all gatherings, Germany had reported problems and borders with reportedly highly infected Iran were being closed.
South Korea soon emerged with proactive and accelerated mass testing. Their readiness likely stems from recent post-pandemic experiences and fears of their immediate neighbors’ incompetence.
Just a couple of weeks ago I made a personal journey back East to Delaware. It seemed reasonable to get in a trip before things broke loose on domestic travel restrictions; timing proved about right.
After being gone just six days my return flight through Denver was enlightening. Bathrooms had rows of sinks filled with soap bubbles and residue with used paper towels piling up in corners.
Usually, many male travelers don’t ever wash their hands during bathroom visits. Not so much now.
The original journey out East from San Jose was enlightening, too. Blue-gloved TSA Security agents handled hundreds of Drivers Licenses as they checked ID’s; endless touching, 100’s of plastic cards.
From the outset of this pandemic what I seem to notice each day is the complete absence of viable transmission suppression protocol. Opportunity to contaminate and spread germs abounds.
However, there is still only ONE confirmed Coronavirus case in the district I reside. Perhaps necessity will clean up behavior as the virus spreads?
In fairness, most people have never been exposed to rigorous protocols and medically clean processing.
Fortunately, even these basic steps are reportedly adequate, THIS time.
Highly communicable airborne pathogens require MUCH more care. How will we fare when future Pandemics require such levels of diligence and know-how?
Each day brings news from fighting political factions and blame. There are SIDES taken; each believes and continuously implies only THEIR folks knows what to do and how to save the people. Politicization is the game, Nationally and Globally.
Government figures routinely take the stage and make their plays.
Yesterday brought on more major sporting event closures and delays. Independent countries are isolating from others who might worsen their pathogen flow.
A new strategy is to Delay the Peak of the outbreak nationally; to skew the (hopefully diminished) heart of the crisis to Summer months when medical services are better prepared and less seasonally stressed.
Where I live there is testing newly on-line to check only suspected carriers. Without speedy, broad-based testing yet readily available the exact extent of Community contamination remains fundamentally unknown.
My two most local Hospital Emergency Rooms have tent facilities set up outside. The idea is to test people there and not allow uncontrolled building entry.
Guards stationed at the door ask every visitor if they have basic symptoms such as elevated Temperature, Coughing or Breathing Difficulty before permitting entry. Those offering affirmations are sent to the tent(s).
It now seems the death rates for this Pandemic should hold below seasonal ‘flu’s, but it’s spread may prove more prolific. At risk are currently expected only those with compromised immune systems, especially older people.
Still, there is only one local (self-quarantined) virus carrier testing positive.
And each day my neighborhood seems just a little quieter, except for apparently undiminished numbers of surfers at Pleasure Point.
Over the weekend in San Francisco a Fisherman’s Walk waiter told me his bus journey through China Town was uncharacteristically deserted.
Chinese restaurants are experiencing slowdowns. I’m guessing more than other businesses.
Last weekend the large, thriving Alameda Chinese waterfront restaurant I pass regularly showed clear signs of depleted activity.
During recent weeks the transportation industry has been preparing for what has now occurred.
Flights are cancelled, others lightly loaded. Deals for future fares and cleanliness assurances abound.
Countries continue to disconnect from one another; protected borders potentially bring a level of control to mitigate internal infection rates.
People still travel to work. Public transportations promote their hygiene and cleaning practices.
Most folks know that even perfect cleanliness is compromised as the first passenger steps aboard.
Past Pandemics have progressed in phases. First, perceived slowdowns in new cases, success of treatment(s) and quarantines, then survivors return to business as usual.
But setbacks occur. There can be flare-ups in numbers of new cases; sometimes the next wave is more overwhelming than the first.
The 2009 H1N1 flu Pandemic hit the US hard. There were over 60 million cases and 12,500 deaths on the heels of the 2008 financial collapse. Yet this disaster passed almost invisibly with minimal media coverage.
As I write there are presumed 1,500 Coronavirus cases and 40 deaths, Domestically (US). And this is fronted by the frenzied face of global, media-driven panic.
Sadly, The Reality and Importance of Events is defined by deliberately Promoted Agendas. It has always been the case.
Today there is no national News of decline in new Coronavirus cases. There is no palpable, immediate hope or promise. Perhaps tomorrow?
Still, there IS extensive on-line guidance about protecting oneself during the Pandemic. Use this info and help/ guide those in need of sensible instruction.
It certainly seems the worst is yet to come.
Yet many people are already suffering indirect consequences of this Coronavirus. It weighs on us. It can sap joy from our lives.
Hopefully these are the ONLY consequences and inconveniences we experience.
It’s wise to hold on to optimism during this Pandemic. There WILL be an eventual decline in sickness incidents. The Emergency WILL ultimately end. This too shall pass.