Coronavirus shutdowns may be ending soon. Some news about them is finally hopeful. Over the weekend, The New York Times, which has been generally comprehensive in its coverage of the epidemic, had 2 helpful and possibly heraldic reports yesterday. One was a map showing how individual states might open up and the other, looking back, told about the states hardest hit and places where good news appears to be ahead. The virus coverage has been generally scary, unhelpful, and constantly changing.
Coverage morphed, for example, from no nose and mouth covering to complete coverage and advice to wash your mask in hot water after every use. The New York Times, which reported that it is dropping its weekend travel section until after the pandemic, implied that it stood by a report during the past week that “…occasional trips to the grocery store probably don’t necessitate a shower and change of clothes back at home. But, you should always wash your hands”. This seems more balanced and realistic to me. How many mask wearers were washing their nose and mouth coverings after each use? I suspect very few.
Four states, Oklahoma, Alaska, Georgia, and South Carolina, have partially reopened. Oklahoma is not known for beaches, but people might be able to return to them and state parks now according to a map that Ruth found and brought to my attention. She’s especially happy to hear that barbers and hair cutters may return to work, and even some restaurants may be serving customers again as long as the tables are not close together. Social distancing, I fear, will be with us until it’s proven that the number of new cases is non-existent. Fifteen states not among those already partially reopened will have some re-openings by the end of April. Some of these, like Texas, Minnesota, Florida, and Colorado, have big population centers. In others, Like Montana and Maine, people are more spread out. The rest of the states either don’t expect to test re-opening until May or later or have not announced a target date. At least we’re having this conversation.
I found The New York Times charts and graphs accompanying “5 Ways to Monitor the Pandemic in the U.S.” especially interesting. Lauren Leatherby and Kevin Quealy interpreted reports from health agencies, hospitals, and The Center for Disease Control and covered what I had not heard reported before, like where new cases are decreasing the most. These locations include Albany, Georgia, where new cases are down 341 from the previous week. Also on the list were big cities Detroit, New Orleans, and New York City, 3 places in Louisiana, 2 in Pennsylvania, and 1 in Colorado. New deaths are decreasing the most in Georgia’s Albany, New York City at last, 2 towns in Massachusetts, and 2 in Washington, my state.
I have appreciated all the virus news that people have sent me in the past month, but I hope these are my final words about this exceptional time in our history.