Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Journal of the Plague Months: Vol. 2, No. 1 -- "X" marks the spot and the spot is us

The “X” appeared in the sky above Colorado’s Front Range on a bright Wednesday morning, April 1.

An omen? A pilot’s April Fools prank? Warning from an extraterrestrial advance force that our days are numbered?

Because we now live in a sci-fi world, the meaning of the “X” — shown above in a photo that’s not (I swear) Photoshopped — seems both cautionary and clear. The moment reeks of gloom and doom.

-- All but “essential” businesses are closed. The number of coronavirus cases is rising. The number of deaths, also rising. The supply of groceries, shrinking.

-- Many are experiencing fear and panic. Physicians worry about shortages of vital medical equipment.

-- Some ignore social distancing recommendations. Some don't take the shelter-in-place mandate seriously. Enforcement seems limited, lax or non-existent.

-- The late-night hosts return, broadcasting from basements and living rooms and having Zoom chats with guests.

-- A CNN anchor tests positive for the virus. Looking wan and sick, he, too, broadcasts from his basement.

-- A medical panel meets in Colorado to discuss how to decide who among the severely ill will receive care.

And, in case, you find yourself in a surprisingly good mood, some headlines from a few of the nation's great news sources to remind you that, for many, the situation is dire:

-- "A quarter of those who contract the coronavirus may not show it -- meaning it may be closer than you think." -- The Washington Post.

-- The list of who won't get the $1,200 stimulus checks is growing." -- The Washington Post

-- "Need a thermometer to check for coronavirus? Good luck finding one." -- The Chicago Sun Times

-- "Rural residents' access to hospitals is already a problem. Coronavirus could make it worse." -- The Arizona Republic

-- "California classrooms will not reopen this year due to coronavirus." -- San Francisco Chronicle

I'm sure you get the idea.

By noon, the ominous "X" in the sky had faded. The unsettled feelings it inspired? They linker.

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