A Journal of the Plague Year 2021–chapter 195

Life persists in our apartment window.

Saturday, February 20

A catastrophic winter storm has swept down from the arctic and smashed its way into the lower South and Texas, leaving four million enduring bitter cold without power while killing at least 58 people. That groundhog, who predicted six more weeks of winter back on February 2, seems to have engaged in a bit of understatement.

Here in New York City, conditions are more or less on par for the late winter: dirty piles of snow at the street corners, day after day of snow showers and flurries. And the pandemic continues. Some 42 million Americans have gotten shots, including us; but the muddled situation regarding our second injection remains muddled. Walgreen’s called last evening to say that they are aware of the problem and still working on a solution. Our contact said she believes that like us, a dozen people got a first dose of Pfizer and are still scheduled to get a second dose of Moderna—even though the two aren’t supposed to be mixed. Our second appointment is still scheduled for March 12.

Biden says he believes everyone will have gotten vaccinated by mid-summer. Others say December is a more likely date for such an achievement.

We’ve been taking care of small issues such as haircuts, adjustments to Emily’s eBay account, getting tax papers to our accountant, shopping at the much-missed and now strangely empty Trader Joe’s, and overcoming the lingering affects of the first anti-COVID-19 injection. Now, we’re expecting to go back to East Hampton tomorrow, when it’s supposed to be cold but finally sunny.

The airwaves are strangely still without broadsides from MAGA man and unhinged Republicans. The Times says that 7 in 10 Americans favor Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus program, which Democrats plan to push through Congress this week. The best the GOP opposition can offer is to label the plan, with its billions in benefits for the unemployed and small business, a “payoff to progressives” or a “blue-state bailout.” 

The much-loathed Senator Ted Cruz made headlines with his temporary Escape from Texas—and shamefaced rapid return—all of which he blamed on his in-need-of-a-break kids. And Twitter-less Trump has been largely silenced.

By some measures, Biden is doing pretty well. By this point in 1932, with millions unemployed and banks collapsing like dominoes, FDR was still backing his counterproductive plan to cut veterans benefits and federal employees’ pay. Ex-President Herbert Hoover sought to blame the Great Depression on Europe and debts from World War I, and believed the best hope of recovery would come from reestablishing the international gold standard. It would be several years before the New Deal’s celebrated public works programs would kick in. So at least now there’s a clearer focus on what must be done.

Dinner: pasta with Bolognese sauce and a green salad.

Entertainment: episodes from season two of the French farce Call My Agent! on Netflix.