Pollution is down. The skies are clear. Wildlife is moving into places that were filled with people just a month or two ago. Gas has fallen to $2.99 a gallon. No one is driving. The highways are empty.
All because of a virus so deadly that by the time people figure out that it’s getting bad for them, it’s too late. They go to the ER and die within hours.
The virus attacks the lungs. It’s like having pneumonia but on steroids. Ventilators can’t save many of the people. It’s just too late.
Health workers make social media videos begging and pleading for people to stay inside. They’ve seen enough deaths in the last month to last a lifetime. Many people can stay home and be okay financially, either by working from home or by dipping into their savings.
Poor people, the ones who do the minimum wage jobs, can’t work from home. Cooks, waiters, waitresses, care givers, warehouse workers, hair dressers, barbers, farm workers, grocery store workers, on and on. If they are lucky enough to work for an essential company, they can still get paid. If not, they are royally screwed.
It’s really about the haves and have-nots. The have-nots being ordered back to work in different states may have no choice but to return to work at the casinos, warehouses or meat packing plants. There they run the risk of getting the virus and of dying from it.
Sending those people back to work is like sending lambs to the slaughter. This is asking for a sacrifice for the country’s greater good on the backs of people with the lowest paying jobs — people of color, immigrants, uneducated folks, and single parents — mostly female.
It is all so shameful that I can’t stand to watch the news as old white men make horrible decisions for young people with families and futures, decisions that mean they have no chance in hell of escaping Covid 19.
Blacks are being hit especially hard with the virus. Because they are out there in the public doing their jobs, or because of something else? No one knows yet, but when you have Beyonce warning other blacks to be careful, you’d better listen.
As an older person with a lifetime to look back on and reflect upon, I think the re-set button has been pushed so we can assess our lives and decide what we need to change. For many of us, it is purging stuff that accumulates over a lifetime and takes over our worlds. For others, it’s time to get back to practicing the piano again, teaching ourselves ukulele or picking up that dusty guitar in the corner.
It’s time to do crafts and other creative things. It’s time to finish the honey-do list or to fix all those things you always meant to get to but never had time for.
It’s time to bake, try new recipes and sort out those cookbooks that you don’t turn to anymore.
It’s time to pile up the donations in the dining room after cleaning out every drawer, cupboard, closet, and corner of your living space.
Yes, the virus is horrible, the death toll is horrific, and the dread of going out in public is palpable. But this is where we are and where we might stay for the foreseeable future.
So all I can say is carry on, carve out some time to reflect, and be careful out there.