One Year Later, April 14, 2020. “Definitely signs of flattening curve. Definitely still people in middle America and in the rural, western states, jamming their middle fingers at the rest of us, and interacting as much as they want. There were so many Easter gatherings in churches in the Midwest it was ridiculous. Total cases in the US 554,849 and total deaths 21,942. Cases in Oregon 1527. But the hot spots are much higher: Cases in New York 188,694. New Jersey 61,850. Massachusetts 25,475. Michigan 24,638. Pennsylvania 22,833. Louisiana 20,595. California 21,794. Illinois 20,852.”
“585 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19, which is 13% of the crew that has been tested so far. The first sailor died yesterday. Word is that the Census Bureau is not able to conduct normal operations. How unfortunate for a once-every-ten-years operation, that when it’s time to go count people for the first time in a decade, there’s a pandemic. I received my $1200 for the stimulus plan. Tara won’t qualify because they’ve never filed for taxes, but for some reason I did not receive any extra for Tara as a dependent. Not sure about Brynnen.“
Weirdly, I never did receive any credit for Tara during 2020, even though I counted them as my dependent for that tax year and the previous. Then, in 2021, when I stopped reporting as “head of household” for 2020, and stopped counting Tara as a dependent, I received double the stimulus – I assume for my dependent. What the heck is going on in the Internal Revenue Service? It must be chaos there, trying to track everyone down and get the payments right.
The note about the COVID-19 cases on the USS Theodore Roosevelt was referring to the story I mentioned in a previous post. What the April 14 news said to me is that there was a significant outbreak on board and that validates all the fear they had and their desire to get off the ship.
It was funny for me in 2021 to be reminded of that phrase “flattening the curve.” Remember when people on the news said that all the time? I updated my facebook status back then to say: I wore a sports bra today. Just doing my part to flatten the curve.
April 17, 2020. “Wow. I missed three days. I guess the ‘Rona is getting old. It’s still the only thing in the news. The news is clearly reporting a flattening of the curve in the US. But while that feels like a relief, what that literally means is that we are at the top of a massive health crisis, and holding. As of today, total cases of COVID-19 reported by the CDC in the US is 632,548 with 31,071 deaths. That is so many. How many people die of the flu each year in the US I wonder? State of Oregon 1736 cases, 64 deaths. Benton county (where Tara lives) 27 cases, 4 deaths. Columbia county (where I live) 14 cases, 0 deaths. Cowlitz county (where I shop) 26 cases, 0 deaths. I’ve bookmarked CDC, Cowlitz, and Oregon web pages and moved them to my active tabs on the browser on my laptop.”
“Brynnen got his $1200 check. Dennis (Tara’s dad) is living on Social Security, and just got a bump in his payment because apparently Oregon decided to do that due to the pandemic. Jeff (guy I went on the date with) applied for a small business assistance on the stimulus plan, but hasn’t heard back yet and I heard on the radio that the program ran out of money yesterday. It was $2 trillion.“
This report sounds so boring on the surface, but there is so much I see here. First of all, I had been diligently reporting each day in my journal, and this was the first time I accidentally forgot to write. And for three days! Clearly I had some pandemic fatigue. And no wonder; the news was always horrible and I was so exhausted from being afraid of the unknown for so long. Second, I’m listing how government assistance is helping different people in my life. Basically I was saying something like, “Everyone I know qualifies for aid.” That’s pretty significant.
Another thing that catches my attention is my curiosity for the first time of how many people die from influenza each year. I confess I never cared about this number before, maybe because the seasonal flu is always here and people have been dying from from the flu forever. The same thing is happening to me with Covid numbers. In April 2020, you see I was diligently reporting the totals, and thinking carefully about each number, how it changed, what it meant. Today, April 2021, I still occasionally look at the numbers. Those bookmarked tabs are still front and center on my laptop browser, but the information blurs together and means much less now. CDC says today the total official cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. is 31,231,869. And I’m all, “Wasn’t it pretty much 31 million last time I looked? I can’t even remember.” The numbers are so big and so persistent, and so consistently bad, that I’m not reacting anymore.
That’s the underlying message I see here. And it’s not pretty. COVID-19 statistics right now are worse than ever before, and I’m not even scared anymore. I used up all my scared already.