Yes, we’re all tired of being in quarantine. Those of us who are actually quarantining, that is. Our park is pretty much cleared out and understandably so; it has been 100 degrees and over for the last few weeks. We would love to be in the cool mountains of Colorado, visiting friends at the lake or just exploring the country in the bus. Our two international vacations have already been cancelled and refunded (mostly). We are staying put for the duration.
Now that the coronavirus has been successfully politicized it is getting worse. My blame is squarely placed on the government, which denied its existence or severity early on. Until today, over five months too late, the president wasn’t wearing a mask! If only he had paid attention to his own Center for Disease Control early on. Cases are rising. We haven’t even made it through the first wave and cases are surging upward. Florida had 15,300 new cases today. In one day… But they’re opening Disney World, beaches and other attractions. Once they opened the bars. cases began rising exponentially here in Texas, where we have some of the highest numbers. They quickly shut them back down but plenty of damage done.
Our county in the Rio Grande Valley has one in ten of the new cases per day. We have been really careful about going out or being around people here who are not taking it seriously. There aren’t many activities here in the summer which is a good thing. I have been swimming my hour of laps daily and it is actually amazing to have not just the entire pool, but the whole pool area to myself. We have limited our trips to town to about every three weeks and they are always taken with utmost precaution, masks, gloves, glasses, wipes and limiting contact. Thankfully, most of the people in the grocery stores are wearing masks but social distancing? Not so much. I had to ask a person twice in the checkout line to stay six feet away from me. And forget those arrows in the aisles meant to be one-way and keep shoppers apart.
Our national response or lack of it has made us a disgrace around the world. Every country except 20 have banned Americans from entering and several of those have mandated quarantine for 14 days. New Zealand has absolutely no cases anymore and they are back to life as usual. What did they do? Mandated quarantine for four weeks, two Covid cycles. Mortgage and rent relief for three months with 80% salary guaranteed. They trusted their leaders and health officials and the leaders trusted the people to do the right thing… and they did. America isn’t recovering as quickly because we value individualism over collectivism. Nobody here wants to do anything that is a minor inconvenience to them in order to protect their neighbors. And don’t get me started on the conspiracy theory people who think that mandated masks are a goose step down the road to government taking away all our rights. Just wear the damn mask.
What did we do? A one-time payment of $1200, a letter from Trump, who wanted his signature on the checks but had to settle for a letter, and Small Business Loans, most of which went to rich corporations, churches (!) and otherwise spread around to Trump’s cronies and rich people. And churches don’t even pay taxes! Why are they getting anything? Just another chance to reward their rich friends and run for re-election. Any mask or quarantine mandates have not lasted long enough and are announced unenforceable. And now they are having Zoom meetings to see about opening the schools. If you can’t have the meeting in person, you shouldn’t open school. Another re-election tactic that will backfire terribly.
But in order for this to get under control, everybody has to take the precautions, not just some of us. Even though some in government say that 99% of the people who get it survive, there can be severe consequences, blood clots in every organ, kidney failure, stroke and heart issues. Who wants their health severely compromised like that? Not me.
I know two people personally who have had the virus, a friend from high school and her husband. He had what they called a mild case while hers was deemed Moderate. She made it clear that she was very sick with pneumonia and other complications and even after recovery tested positive after two months. And I’m sure you’ve seen the stories about the folks who brag about not wearing masks and going to bars, parties, restaurants and beaches and are now dead. Smart move. I guess they get a Darwin Award.
We are lucky though. We have our house, which is nice and clean, and the garden to nurture and observe. Unlike some, we have food and money and liquor and we actually like each other and enjoy our company. Jim is getting in lots of ukulele practice although he is bummed that he can’t participate in the jam sessions. We have sheltered in place all this time; why blow it?
Batten down the hatches. The first “wave” isn’t over, death rates are up and cases are rising. We’re not even close to the second wave yet. As we added to our daily mantra after Jim broke his arm in 2015; “Be Smart, Pay Attention.” Words to the wise.
And the Crepe Myrtles are still blooming. The elephant ears are getting big and the cannas are over my head. There is still art, music and natural beauty in the world even if you have to look a little bit harder.