Twenty-ninth Entry


Handwritten sign on white paper that says Closed For Virus next to Business Hours list

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

This morning, I was thinking that almost no one in this city has gotten a haircut in over a month.
For me, it has likely been more than two months.  

Austria is opening up slowly. 

The three-week-long Tour de France has been postponed until August 29. 

The number of Covid-19 cases in Japan has tripled in three weeks. Tokyo hospitals may be overwhelmed. In Osaka, there is an urgent call for rain gear, even ponchos—anything to protect medical workers.   

The TSA screened 90,500 airline passengers yesterday; one year ago today, the number was 2,466,000. That is about one person for every 27 people last year. Likely no screening lines—assuming some TSA staff are working. Ridership on NYC subways is down by 90%, but the trains are running.

Consumer spending in the US was reported to be down by 8.7%. It must be down by much more than that in New York City, where everyone is staying in. Maybe most of the spending is online? Consumer products sales make up two-thirds or more of the US economy. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it certainly indicates that we do a lot of shopping. Perhaps that is what now makes us “great.”

Last night, I walked around the corner to pick up my first take-out meal. I’d never been to the place before; they were happy to have a customer.  I had a gentle and present interaction with the woman behind the high counter as I paid with cash and collected my dinner. Fun to eat something I had not cooked, and I felt fine doing so since I had learned that the coronavirus does not survive the digestive tract. I would get take-out more often, if not for all the plastic.

This afternoon, while sitting at my desk, I listened to a typical radio interview—this one with a woman working from home and taking care of her kids. The third grader was learning remotely but “needed direction.” In passing, the mom said, “I looked over and my youngest was at the edge of the yard–eating a bush.”  Somehow that summed up these strange days.