As life… and death… chug along during this strange period, I find that I get my information from two sources — from gossip from friends and from the news. Now that I’m back to working on an article, I’m also getting information from various strangers who share their own gossip.
It will be years before the gossip is put together with concrete scientific research to flesh out the big picture. Each of us is experiencing this pandemic differently. Everybody has their stories right now, and not enough people are bringing those stories together to stitch together the big picture. Just as we need them the most, journalists are being furloughed or are sidelined with childcare responsibilities.
I think going forward, I’m going to use my daily diary posts on this blog to share the gossip, and I’ll follow up with links to the best journalism of the day. So what gossip can I share today?
One of my best friends got the virus last month. She’s out on Long Island, so she probably had the bad New York variety of the virus. You don’t want to get this. She was out of commission for two weeks; it is taking a long time to get her lung capacity back to normal. Her teenager daughters had mild cases. But weirdly, her overweight, asthmatic husband never felt ill.
She got the antibody test last week. She was told that her antibody test was one of the good ones, with a high validity rate. The test found that indeed she and her daughters had the antibodies, but her husband, who lived in the same house with all the sickness, did not.
In some ways, this was good news. Her daughters can get jobs over the summer, which will be good for family harmony. But they’ll bring in the virus into the house every evening and could infect their vulnerable dad. Theoretically, they could walk around in public without masks, but there is no system in place yet to identify who is safe and who isn’t. Going forward, government is going to have to figure out that.
Even as we hear more and more about states opening up, teachers and administrators tell me that they are nowhere close to opening up schools and colleges. Without camps, nursery schools, and elementary schools, the economy can’t open.
I’m also hearing lots of confusion by administrators about how they will open schools in September. These plans are particularly murky for classrooms with more intensely disabled children, who require lots of physical contact.
Each school is coming up with their own plans for the fall, just as they have done all along. The diversity of methods for handling this pandemic is truly amazing. The lack of centralized planning for educating kids has been stark.
If we are really going to have to reinvent education going forward, as Bill Gates and Andrew Cuomo discussed, centralization will have to be a big part of any plan.
Gates has tried to revolutionize education before, but hit major resistance from both the unions and conservatives. Neither have had a big voice during this pandemic, so this might be the right time for Gates.
We made a truly great meal for Cinco de Mayo yesterday. Steve made pulled pork in the InstaPot. His pork cooked in a mixture of beer and orange juice. I made jalapeño poppers, beans, and guacamole. A couple of friends joined me for a socially distant glass of wine before dinner.