A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 2

National Guard in New Rochelle, N.Y.

March 10

A moderately cloudy, windy, and colder day here in East Hampton. Oatmeal with honey for breakfast, and soonish I will doff these pajamas and take a shower. 

At 12:04 p.m., an unbreakfasted Emily lingers in bed reading Twitter and assorted news reports.

Business Insider says that the U.S. has had only 5 coronavirus tests per million people, with the UK at 347 tests per million people.

The Dow opens 800 points up before dropping 900 points. Bargain-hunters can’t get a break. (By the end of the day, stocks will rally, regaining half of Monday’s losses.)

France warns its citizens that cocaine will not protect them from Covid-19.

New York state is setting up a “containment zone” perimeter around New Rochelle, with the National Guard set to disinfect public spaces and deliver food to the quarantined, “immuno-compromised” populace.

The White House, they say, will push for federal aid to oil-shale companies hit by the virus/market shocks. It seems that a Trump chum lost billions yesterday when oil prices tanked.

East Hampton is very quiet in early March, the only sounds are occasional birdsongs and, in the afternoon, the wordless vocalizing of children at play in nearby backyards. Aaa-aaaah—um why umps ahhhhh! On rare occasions, a motorcycle or truck roars by. Back in the city, kids released from Washington Irving High School and gathering near the 14th St. subway entrance, will be making their daily 3 p.m. racket. But it could be, as I read on Twitter, that the city is more and more deserted, with a perceptible September 11-like feel.

Will an anxious people turn out for the Democratic primaries slated for six states today? The press lords are eager for another Biden sweep and Bernie bust, from Michigan to Washington state. Meanwhile, Biden incoherence and senility is a trending theme on social media: He confuses Angela Merkel with Teresa May, mistakes his sister for his wife, and seems frequently unable to finish a sentence he has unwisely begun. Then he gets furious—a lot like our then-slow-to-learn niece who, at age 3, would throw violent temper tantrums when she couldn’t come out with the words required to express a thought.

Both Biden and Bernie have called off rallies planned for Ohio. The Tucson Festival of Books and Tokyo’s Cherry Blossom Festival, among thousands of other events, have been cancelled. McDonalds, Starbucks, and Door  Dash have begun offering “contact-less” deliveries, with the grub left just outside your door.

And speaking of food: tonight’s dinner will be more spaghetti with meatballs and salad.

Entertainment: Miss Marple solves two murders committed at a gathering of a large, eccentric family living, naturally, in a posh giant house. Several little puzzles are left hanging. Bad editing?

The days here are beginning to seem much alike.

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