Give or take much of the above holds true for me. I currently live in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, which has a distinction of being one of the high-case areas of the state. Before that, this place was internationally famous for being the home of the Kids for cash scandal. We're lucky that we have a state governor who hasa reasonable level of good sense, but is partly powerless when things get to the national level.
My spouse and I work for one of the largest employers in the county as well, and am fortunate that they've granted us something called Weather and Safety Leave since 23rd March, all the way until things die down. We'd be teleworking for them, but our fixed Internet access can only handle basic browsing, not good quality VoIP, so basically I sit around all day waiting for instructions from my boss. Which is another story (all that UFB goodness I hear about in New Zealand… one might be able to get quality access in some areas in the US, but if you're in an area that either doesn't look profitable or doesn't get government subsidies, you're screwed).
Healthcare is a mess, even before the current troubles. Indeed, even though I have what's considered to be a reasonable plan (read: employer-based with supposedly reasonable cost-sharing), I paid about USD$1,600 in cost-sharing to access an emergency department in 2018 (it would have been lower, but I had to go a second night after they misdiagnosed me on the first) and it would have been far more if I had been admitted overnight. I fear being able to easily afford any COVID-19-related treatment cost-sharing. Sure my insurance might have waived testing costs, but they sure haven't waived treatment costs like some others. (I'm hearing there's a chance insurers might try to make up for the losses by heaving up rates next year. Another story I suppose.)
So I'm lucky that my employer hasn't let me go (yet). I'd be up a very smelly creek with no paddle if so.
I was commenting the other day on a Dr Tennant’s Verbal Highs isolation nation station pop-up radio thingy he’s been doing, about the States rights vs Feds, and how most states didn’t F around waiting for the completely out of touch and unorganized bunch of losers in the White House, and called a “Shelter In Place” well before “that guy” even started hinting at it, which is all he’s done – hinted, no take the reins at all, and then uses the excuse that he’d rather “leave it to the states"… what a bullshit excuse for not doing the obvious correct thing, and missing the boat on doing it early enough to have some decent effect on things……
In fact, here in San Frandisco, we went into “lockdown” 4 days before the State of California even enacted it, and we’re seeing some encouraging data trends.
New Zealand’s move to Level 4, when case count was low was a phenomenal move in my opinion… I don’t care who you support, but Jacinda and team played an Ace with that move. Kiwis should consider themselves very lucky, but should also stick to the game plan…. this is a long haul thing…I mean, what’s worse, being accused of going too hard, or being responsible for many deaths??… on top of that, if half your population die, your economy’s gonna be more screwed and will take way longer to recover too, so the “economic” considerations are by default secondary, whereas over here in the US, it is the forefront of current “lockdown relaxation” thinking.
Another thing I talked about is the way that the NZ Govt has been way more transparent about what they’re doing and thinking, compared to the USA, to the extent that I’ve been able to watch online the Simon Bridges’ version of “Celebrity Squares”, or the intro to “The Brady Bunch” where he grills mainly opposition ministers about things that I think are on a lot of NZer’s minds, whereas over here, we get an incompetent, lying leader having a 30-45 minute fiasco of a press conference, that has even recently featured political $$ donors reading from the bible telling us that trust in god will see us through…
God help us….
As everywhere, it's been a surreal experience living in London in lockdown, although for my partner Glenn and me, we've had a very different perspective to the majority of the population. As beer and wine retailers, we're permitted to keep trading (although we moved to online/delivery-only weeks ago for the safety of our staff and customers). This means while most of London is housebound, we're busier than ever, with a reduced team working 12-hour days to service the demands of thirsty quarantined Brits. (And believe us, they're *thirsty*.)
It's been weird to watch the lockdown settle in. The first week, people were genuinely scared - everyone tuned in to the daily government broadcasts (once the government stopped having weekends off) and damn straight people stayed home. One day we drove down a normally gridlocked motorway near Canary Wharf and were the only car on the road, it was like a scene from 28 Days Later. Now, it feels there are almost as many people out and about as before, although at least they're usually 2m apart.
But among all this fear, ennui and uncertainty lies a great deal of love and extraordinary beauty too. We're privileged to be permitted to leave our house and drive through the wilds of South London as we deliver our boozy gifts - and oh man, you should see London in the springtime and the sunshine, when pollution levels have dropped right off. It's so beautiful that your heart leaps every time you round a corner. I can see for miles and miles... And if you ever wanted to know what it might feel like to be a Great Benefactor, try delivering a big box of beer to a bunch of bored, cooped-up flatmates on a Friday night.
But it's no match for the pub, for friends, for human contact. Everyone's still finding the Zoom/Houseparty thing a novelty but we all know it'll wear off soon. While out delivering the other night I saw a child's sign hanging in a front window. "Hugs will be back!" it declared, above a handpainted rainbow. I can't stop thinking about that. They will be back, one day - and not a moment too soon...
half your population die
Steady on, the truth is bad enough without having to exaggerate it. In the worst-case scenario, Covid-19 might directly kill 1%. After healthcare services collapse, a similar number would die from being unable to get treatment for other conditions. And in an urban area, there might be further unnecessary deaths for other preventable reasons, such as sewage and waste disposal infrastructure going unserviced. Of course, any preventable death is tragic, and we should all act, calmly, to minimise that outcome. Panic and hyperbole are understandable, but unhelpful.
(Best advice: assume you have it, and act so as not to spread it to others.)