Most of us have only known about it for a few months or even a few weeks, but the coronavirus pandemic already has its own Wikipedia page. In the less than three months since health officials in China first reported the presence of the virus to the WHO, there have been 211,200 infections in 145 countries, with a death toll of 8,967 as of March 18th (latest stats here).
On March 19th China for the first time reported no new cases since its strict quarantine lockdown implemented January 23rd. Meanwhile on the same day deaths in Italy jump to a record 475 on a single day. Iran is very hard hit; South Korea too, though they seem to have had success flattening their curve, a term that used to be known only to people in the statistical world but is now endemic.
In the US chaos reigns. We have been, like Italy and the UK, very slow to respond with preventative measures and testing, so our true infection rate is unknown, with some infectious disease experts estimating, based on models of the known trends in China, Korea and Italy, that for every case we know about (~9800) there are up to ten that have not been diagnosed. An analysis by researchers at the University of Notre Dame estimates that, at the time President Trump declared a national emergency March 11th, there were probably about 22,876 U.S. cases, “with the true number almost certainly between 7,451 and 53,044.”
Those are the numbers, but the numbers don’t tell the story; that’s what I’m going to try to do here.
Friday, March 20: in which L dies; the spring equinox arrives; Italy deaths peak
Saturday March 21: in which I go for a Ray Bradburyesque run
Sunday March 22: in which things aren’t adding up; talk of the National Guard; the steepening US curve
Monday March 23: in which we choreograph our social distance; the full parks are ordered emptied; financial collapse speeds up
Tuesday, March 24: in which politicians volunteer to die, billionaires distribute millions of masks, cherry blossoms bloom
Wednesday March 25: in which schadenfreude is wasted on infected spring breakers, Florida is rationing ammo, a $2 trillion stimulus bill is reached
Thursday March 26: where there’s smoke there’s fire…or virus
Friday March 27: the US takes the lead in new infections globally; in Dr. Fauci we trust; what’s in a name
Saturday March 28: in which the Worth of oil becomes the mercy of care
Sunday, March 29: the Pope’s prayer for the world, the NY curve is getting exponential, Bill Gates & Bob Dylan say some things.
Monday March 30: in which 15 days to slow the spread becomes 30; tears for Italy; ingenious solutions; whose that knocking at the door?
Tuesday March 31: in which we dot the i; records are broken; Cuomo says no no no; the cost of testing negative
Wednesday April 1: in which Americans are warned, brace yourselves
Thursday April 2: in which enjoin a renewed fight against narcoterrorism; generals join the briefing; the Cuomo brothers are #winning
Friday April 3: Jared speaks, milk is spilled, masks are debated, Bolsonaro is dumber than Trump
Saturday April 4: in which a good guy walks the gangway, New York battens down, Newspeak takes hold
Sunday April 5: take your medicine that doesn’t work, there’s plenty where that came from!
Monday April 6: still lagging on testing; US is now the pandemic epicenter; they’re burying bodies in New York parks
Tuesday April 7: in which Idahoans won’t stay home; cheddarheads vote; the NY death toll creeps higher
Wednesday April 8: In which deaths climb; more people are fired; airlines don’t want to reimburse you; there’s no going back
Thursday April 9: the platitude of gratitude and the language of war
Friday, April 10: food is both wanted and wasted; the ground is laid for the president to claim that Mexico has paid for the wall
Monday April 13 in which Governor Cuomo steals my heart with powerpoint
Tuesday April 14: in which the pusillanimous press is pilloried for supposedly perfidious reportage but hey, it’s all good man, the federal government is in the ventilator business now!
Wednesday April 15: in which the president signs the checks but the governors are holding the bag; the Wuhan doctor whistleblower is remembered; the US COVID death toll exceeds 30,000
Thursday April 16: Guns N Poses play Michigan; testing headaches; Way, Jose; o, the Humana-ty
Friday April 17: ready or not, the Great Grand Re-Opening
Tuesday April 21: how the Grand Re-Opening is like a restaurant reality show; hear from the king of ventilators, the princes of testing, the queen of scarves
Sunday, April 27: the usefulness of horror movies in pandemic times
Thursday April 30th: we’re still waiting for coronavirus testing, meanwhile the testing of America’s food supply chain, economy, and leadership is underway
Saturday May 9th: the downslope of the curve is the second inning of the game
Monday June 30th: we opened! we’re experiencing peak infections! we’re closing! the White House task force is reconvening!
Tuesday July 21: the President changes his tune: “It will get worse before it gets better” – but still pushes kids back to school and workers back to work. Also: when pets die 😦