A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 15

The stinking rose: don’t leave home without it.

Monday, March 23

Under a startling headline stating that “New York Becomes Epicenter,” the Times reports that “more than 15,000 people in New York State have tested positive, with the vast majority in the New York City region. That is about half of the cases in the United States.”

Well, half the proven cases. Testing remains very scattered. How many cases are there in Omaha? Probably no one can guess.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to turn the vast Javits convention center into a temporary medical base with 2,000 beds. 

The police department says its ranks contain 98 confirmed cases. 

There are 2 confirmed cases in East Hampton and 3 in Southampton.

Two unanticipated, if quotidian, alarming developments right here: the can opener is nearly worn out (I had to open the tahini-sauce can with a pair of pliers) and we’re running low on soy sauce. Some things you can’t anticipate. Still lots of oatmeal, evaporated milk, and legumes.

Back to more important matters: The worldwide death toll from COVID-19 has passed 15,000.

Jailed sex offender Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the coronavirus. How come he can get the test and many cannot?

The Senate Republicans’ stimulus bill has failed for the second time, as Democrats say it’s too oriented to business bailouts.

And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will order hospitals to increase their bed count by 50%.

I’m getting used to mailing letters (paying bills) from our roadside mailbox, like in the Andy Griffith show or something. When my outgoing letters disappear, it seems like magic: Will they really get to the addressee?

Emily continues daily to try to arrange for a food delivery via Stop & Shop service Peapod. No go, so far—they seem to schedule one day at a time, and even if she gets through, the next deliveries are in early April. But we have a bunch of stuff on hand, with shortages looming only on such stuff as garlic, carrots, salad dressing, and dishwasher soap. (Garlic is important, a key thing to take to a desert island.)

It has rained all day, sometimes quite hard. Windy and gloomy. The heat comes on quite regularly.

Dinner: Lentil salad with roasted red peppers and walnuts, baked potatoes, lettuce and cucumber salad.

Evening entertainment: Ninth episode of The Crown and one episode of Dr. Finley involving a would-be boxer and his wife’s botched self-abortion.

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