As we enter the fourth quarter one thing becomes clear. 2020 will be remembered as our COVID year. Even the Christmas card companies have caught on to it. Displays at Shutterfly, Zazzle, and Personalization Mall led off with themes like “the twelve days of corona,” “Good Riddance 2020,” and what a “Ruff year” (with a sad dog picture). None at Hallmark, though. I even looked through the “funny” ones.
I’m not always happy with Zoom. Like last Friday when I kept a group of patient listeners waiting while I struggled to start my PowerPoint presentation. But when it did work, it was beautiful and people in Honolulu, Palo Alto, Carlsbad, and Indiana were able to chat and learn about 10th-century alchemy together. On Zoom.
This is a “stop the presses” moment for me. Last night I noticed some stories in the headlines, and they had nothing to do with the election. The long-term effects of COVID-19, which have been documented for months, are now widespread in the news. “Long haulers” are being reported worldwide. I don’t think they’ll have trouble getting people to believe them any more.
Eighteen months, I figure. Based on the four influenza and two coronavirus pandemics of the past 100 years, it seems like a reasonable length of time to achieve a measure of stability. What’s more, we can build on that six months of experience as we go forward. Time to restock, manage expectations, and prepare for the winter to come. I’ve made some decisions, some preparations, and a few changes.
Coronavirus no longer dominates the news. On May 4 I did a survey of two major newspapers, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times. In a “normal” election year May is the start of the slow time between the primaries and the conventions that I like to call the doldrums. At that time about 75% of the news stories concerned the pandemic. COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. But is it as newsworthy now?
Last night I was looking for quotes for my 2021 calendar. It was so much fun that I didn’t want to stop. I guess I’m a quote addict. I’d be doing it again this morning, except for this one I found by Ray Bradbury: “You must write every day of your life.” So here we are.
Astronomers in Cardiff just announced that they found traces of life on Venus in the form of phosphine gas. This is the planet which Ray Bradbury described as, “the color of rubber and ash, this jungle, from the many years without the sun.” Or was he talking about California?
California is burning. This time it’s different. I hate to admit it, but in the past I’d almost become accustomed to the fires at this time of year. The news always seemed to hype it up so that each year always had the most acres or the longest lasting fire or the most structures lost. But the 28 fires burning right now include the six largest fires in California history.