DATELINE May 3, 2020, Medellín, Colombia.
These updates are getting harder to write.
It’s clear that this pandemic is not going to end soon, and any real resolution – whether it’s brought about by effective treatments, vaccines, or some other unforeseen factor – is going to take many months, if not years, to pan out. And, being an impatient species that’s used to getting its way with the planet, we humans are chomping at the bit to get back to our “normal lives.”
It’s been difficult to watch the protests against mandated social distancing in our home country, including the (relatively small) gangs of armed thugs making threats to state officials. Especially since social distancing seems to be the ONLY somewhat effective approach to containing this thing.
Which brings me back to why these pandemic posts are getting harder to write.
We’re beginning to realize just what a big uphill battle the pandemic is going to be for the entire world. There are two big things the scientific community seems to agree on right now: 1) We are just in the very beginning stages, and 2) We really don’t know much at all about this virus, how it behaves, and what the long-term implications are. This is an entity that really has no concern at all for us petty little humans – our lifestyles, our travels, our livelihoods, our families, our “freedoms.” Coronavirus is in the driver’s seat, and anyone who thinks that our lives will even remotely resemble the ones we had pre-COVID is deeply mistaken. There’s going to be a new normal, but it’s anyone’s guess what that will look like.
I came across this article in The Tyee, an independent news magazine out of Vancouver BC, Canada, that brings some of these issues into focus. It’s worth a read. Here are the money quotes:
“The virus will continue to illuminate our weaknesses. Whenever and wherever we let down our guard, this virus will almost certainly explode with a bang.”
“Therefore easing restrictions before nations have developed disciplined protocols for testing, contact tracing and isolation of the infected will result in more pandemonium, and a longer emergency.”
“But the real danger will not come just from the haphazard easing of restrictions, but from the psychology of crowds and leaders who pander to their surging emotions for short-term political gain.”
Here in Colombia, it’s clear we haven’t hit the coronavirus peak yet.
As of today, there are 7,285 documented cases – quite a significant jump from last week’s figure of 4881. That might be a reflection of the country-wide testing rate, which finally is starting to accelerate. Here in Antioquia province, the numbers are holding more steady: 477 cases today, only about 30 more than last week, and only six deaths total. There’s still only about 20 people in Antioquian hospitals. But here’s the really encouraging number: 329 people in our province have recovered, more than two thirds of the documented cases. That’s way above the national average.
Other stuff that caught our eye this week
- A real silver lining:
“Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimated to Fall by 8% in 2020 – the Largest Recorded Drop in History,” from The Good News Network
- Here’s an interesting bit from our friends Lisa and Fabio, who are sheltering in place aboard their sailboat in a beautiful anchorage in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez (we wrote about them in this entry). The other day, they were greeted with this message-bearing boat from the Mexican Navy:
- World Central Kitchen, lead by celebrity chef José Andrés, reached a huge milestone this week: they’ve now served well over three million meals to needy families. This amazing team is now active in dozens of American cities, providing nearly 200,000 fresh meals every day.
- And finally, we’ll leave you this week with this little gem. “Hindsight’s 2020.” Let’s hope this pandemic really does result in a “Great Realisation.”