A country divided; a world divided, with various actions and responses to the pandemic. This is what I am pondering this night. While some places are starting to reopen; others are still sheltering. I live in an area where the sheltering is still advised. I have friends who live in other parts that are reopening. It’s a confusing time.
Testing for the virus and for antibodies is ever evolving and changing. I received an email from my healthcare provider tonight and got so confused. The good news was the testing for the virus seems to be taking less time for results, however, testing is still limited to those with symptoms. The crazy news is they have antibody tests, and after reading their findings that there are false negatives and positives and, and and… seems to me antibody tests are not worth taking.
I spoke with my dear friend in Costa Rica today. When we spoke mid-April she shared the restrictions for movement in San Jose metropolitan area. Actually, as she explained, per their constitution, the government cannot restrict movement of people. They can restrict movement of transportation. So to obey the constitution, Costa Rica planned to restrict vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles and buses. San Jose has over a million and a half cars, so this is a way to limit the movement and gatherings at this time. The plan was to rotate the last number of the vehicle license plates that can drive, and restrict other vehicles that day. At that time she was preparing for not being able to drive the next few days. Today she shared she was able to drive yesterday, and then, after all the anticipation, realized she didn’t really need to go out. She shared movie theaters, gyms and hair salons are allowed to reopen, but under strict sanitary rules, and limiting number of people to 25% of their rated capacity.
A May 2nd New York Times article, “No More Jenga, No More ‘Amen’ as Cities Learn to Live With Coronavirus” by Javier C. Hernandez and Su-Hyun Lee, shared ways people around the world are starting to go back out; however, with new ways of living life with restrictions and social distancing. Some examples through Australia and Asia included:
Masks required to be worn at all times.
Schools reopening for one day a week per grade.
Restaurants with tables at least five feet apart and providing a disposable bag at the table for people to place their mask while eating.
Movies theaters that replace concession stand workers with robots to limit human contact.
Churches where hymns are not to be sung, nor “Amens” verbalized to avoid germs being shared.
Funerals attendees advised to bow heads, not hug
Require citizens to have an App on their Smartphone that tracks their health history and movement.
Hair salons reopening but no longer providing magazines for clients to read.
Through it all, the USA continues to reveal the realities of ongoing oppression and racism; as people of color are treated differently than white people doing the same activities. Namely going outside. Shaun King posts a photo of white people in a crowded park scene and reported in New York City, “the NYPD is wearing gloves and masks and gently, cordially passing out gloves and masks. In Black communities 2 miles away, the police don’t wear masks and gloves, don’t pass out masks or gloves, and are beating the life out of Black people for not socially distancing.”
And this headline from the New York Daily News, “NYC logs 284 coronavirus-related harassment and discrimination complaints since February” 40% of those complaints were from Asian-Americans.
I've recently heard two differing analogies about boats and storms. One shared, we are all in the same boat with different storms; and another shared... actually, we are all in the same storm, but clearly have different boats… and many have no boat at all.
All this discussion about restrictions and movement and reopening and sheltering and freedom makes me wonder what the future holds. I searched for some wiser words. So this night, I turn to Maya Angelou.
Caged Bird by Maya Angelou (1983)
In a profound show of resilience The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.