Time is behaving strangely, telescoping then expanding. Sometimes three weeks ago seems like yesterday; sometimes like years ago. In a way it seems as if while external events are not marking days, time should stand still, and it is a shock to realize a week has passed. I am just observing; I am not distressed by it.
At least there will be no premature lifting of restrictions. One good thing among many obnoxious things. One of the worst is increasing sanctions on Iran rather than lifting them. And Venezuela. An indictment of a sitting president and sending of naval ships there to police a drug trafficking that is minimal compared to drugs traveling in other areas. I await more information, but I am skeptical of motive and timing and even the truth of the accusation. It is no secret that the White House has been pushing for regime change and Juan Guaido as president, whereas his popularity has dwindled. Is the whole thing an attempt to boost Guaido? It sure looks that way, especially with the offer to lift sanctions in the future if an emergency government is formed, a support of Guaido’s own proposal. (It seems a support of Guaido even if neither Guaido nor Maduro would be in the US proposed emergency ruling committee.) Sanctions should be lifted for humanitarian and global reasons. Even if one doesn’t care about the people in either Iran or Venezuela, it is in the interest of the world to contain the novel coronavirus by allowing medicines and emergency equipment to reach them.
Another area in dire straits is Gaza and the West Bank. A field hospital was begun (I think in the West Bank), only to be torn down by Israeli forces because Palestinians are not allowed to build. Such idiocy, to enforce such a law in times like these.
I attended a virtual rally sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace among others, about ending the blockade on Gaza to allow medicine and emergency equipment in. I tuned in by Zoom and listened to speeches as at any IRT rally. Actions included signing petitions, making signs and showing them along with our faces while they captured screen shots and posted them. It was suggested that with legislators working from home, voice mail and email of senators and representatives may not be being monitored, so to reach them it was suggested we tweet at them on Twitter. Something to think about as other issues arise as well.
And on the home front, I am livid that Jared Kushner has been put in charge of logistics of the national emergency stockpile. That is a position that requires someone with expertise, not just a Cliff Notes version of getting “up to speed.” Kushner didn’t learn well in his cramming. Instead of helping, he is continuing problem of getting equipment where it is needed, Kushner’s claim that the stockpile is not the states’ but “ours” is appalling, and equipment seems to have been released not to those who need it but to the private sector so that states can continue outbidding each other and companies can get into war profiteering. (I’ve heard this mentioned once on Chris Hayes’ All In.)
On the mask issue, this article from The Atlantic is the most clarifying thing I have read. The short version: In addition to conveying the technical definition of airborne as a size of particle more than the lay definition carried by air, it begins to answer how asymptomatic people transmit the virus. And it concludes with something I’d come to think: since we can’t distinguish who is well from who is asymptomatic, we should consider ourselves potentially carriers. And even if homemade masks only protect others from the sick (rather than keeping us from contracting COVID-19), we should protect others from the possibility that we are carriers. And it has become official, if voluntary, with the weak call of one who will not wear a mask.
I was out the day before the announcement, and about 1/4 of the people I saw–I didn’t see many–were masked. I was out walking in the empty park. People in my neighborhood are cooperating.
Two buses passed while I was walking, both were empty. However, one bus driver has died of COVID-19. He had previously complained because of a passenger who not only coughed but made no effort to cover his cough. (What happened to stay-at-home-if-symptomatic there?)
The projection is that Oregon’s peak will be mid April. It is approaching. Today’s statistics: 4 new deaths, 100 new cases, bringing the total to 999 as of 8 am. And among the survivors, a 104-year-old veteran. That’s impressive!