Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Hope is in the air. I was going to write about contagion today–looking at how viruses spread, why some are so fast, and what difference this has made historically. But not today. I feel so hopeful after my morning scan of the news that I would much rather write about that.
The first thing I noticed as I scanned CNN and BBC was a drop in COVID-centered stories and more articles about the economy, politics, and fractured international relations. Not happy stories, but when were they ever? The interesting thing is that the pandemic was relegated to a supporting role on the world stage today, rather than dominating the headlines with stories about testing, outbreaks, ventilators, and lockdown lifestyles.
The shift in emphasis may also reflect a healthy interest in the wider world and even a dawning coronavirus fatigue among news readers. Our governor, recognizing this, has relaxed the guidelines for businesses opening up in California. “Opening up” doesn’t mean it’s just like old times, of course. Infection control guidelines, including distancing, hand washing, and masks still apply. Counties still have to meet standards on testing, contact tracing, and hospital capacity, so that they can identify, manage, and prevent new outbreaks. But definitely a step in the right direction. Stay tuned: Restaurant dining, spectator-free sports, and hair salons are coming soon.
Here’s what made me feel good today:
- The encouraging news about the vaccine trials (WSJ, Reuters, MSN, etc.)
- An article about the “new age of air travel” (WSJ)
- New federal guidelines for reopening nursing homes which bring us closer to the day when patients can see their families in person. (WSJ)
- A diner in Queens setting up a makeshift drive in movie and serving burgers and fries (WSJ)
- Auto workers returning to work in Michigan (WSJ)
- Hair salons are opening in Italy (NYT)
- Film and TV series resuming production in France (BBC News)
- Wales is considering lifting its ban on people meeting outdoors (Shropshire Star).
“Heard it on the grapevine” section: No names, but people are beginning to see friends and family, in small numbers, often outdoors, just to talk and enjoy human company again. People who share standards about what’s safe. And it makes me happy.
Yes, I know the vaccine news is very preliminary. I know there are warnings about surges. I know, I know.
But summer’s coming. Let’s be happy for the good news.
Today’s Notable Headlines
“Elderly home turns to wearables for contact tracing, sidestepping Apple-Google limits,” Reuters, May 19, 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-wearables-tracing/elderly-home-turns-to-wearables-for-contact-tracing-sidestepping-apple-google-limits-idUSKBN22V2T0
“Wales considering changes to outdoor meeting rules, health minister says,” Shropshire Star News, May 19, 2020. https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/uk-news/2020/05/19/wales-considering-changes-to-outdoor-meeting-rules-health-minister-says/
“A Lot To Be Hopeful For’: Crisis Seen As Historic, Not Another Great Depression,” NPR, May 17, 2020. https://www.npr.org/2020/05/17/857149873/a-lot-to-be-hopeful-for-crisis-seen-as-historic-not-another-great-depression
Why am I doing this?
The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the events of these days from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.
You are on History’s Edge.