Friday, November 20, 2020

Through The Looking Glass

The city of Key West is urgently pushing the barn door shut even as Coronavirus cases have almost hit 1300. That news has pushed local leaders to act in a way that is going to upset a lot of people and in a  time when taking a stand is not very popular  my hat is off to the city commission. (LINK) We all know that we have a more stable population in the Keys as winter residents come and don't leave.  Thus when people get infected now  they don't go home after vacation but show up at the local hospitals. Concern is therefore at a high level officially speaking and the city commission has grasped that uncomfortable bull by the horns..
Florida Keys
The city commission has passed another outdoor mask ordinance so we are back where we were this spring, masks on all the time, indoors and out when you leave home. I have been reading reports from hospitals in the Midwest where patients tell nurses they don't believe they have Covid 19 even as it kills them. It beggars belief but coronavirus has leapt out of the realm of science into the twisted up world of politics and wishful thinking.
Florida Keys
So now the city decides to tighten up to try to stop the virus in little old Key West and predictably there are experts in the city who know better, prominent citizens no less. The newspaper reports a local restaurant magnate has decided masks are ineffective and didn't enforce even the previously rather lax rules. One can imagine that with his erudition on the subject of epidemiology he has decided the new, stiffer rules are pointless. Which about sums up how hopeless the situation is become. Eleven million cases nationwide and here we are, crashing around in a  fog of premature senility. I saw one suggestion online to ward off coronavirus with oregano. What I wondered do they put on their pasta sauce, bleach, perhaps? If oregano worked would not the Italians of all people, among the most hard hit nations, not be immune? However being rational in the face of essential oils and witchcraft has no place.
Facebook lit up this week with the news that the newly elected county commissioner, and former long time city mayor, and his wife are in the hospital with coronavirus diagnoses. This stuff must be hitting home when we hear this and you'd think that to see such a popular leader and his charming wife laid up in the hospital would be a call to action. Yet the whole concept of politicized mask wearing is the worst legacy of the outgoing administration's fight to politicize absolutely everything. So Facebook doesn't light up with recommendations to wear masks and stay socially distant: no we see lots of hands joined in prayer. A charming sentiment but prayer is proving to be about as effective as oregano in keeping the virus at bay. Prayer and a mask is much more indicated as the city commission itself voted,  but we are as a species incapable of being rational. Oregano and prayer not masks. 250,000 dead, so far, hospitals filling up nationwide, health care workers at the end of their tethers. And we haven't even had a Pearl Harbor or a Tet Offensive to test our mettle, and here we are trembling before the dreaded mask.

I have to say my ambition is to get through the next few months unscathed if I possibly can, and reach the place where secure vaccinations become available and put this ghastly episode behind me. In the hundred years since the Spanish "Flu, which originated in Kansas of course, we seem to have learned nothing as a species, We are living through a  time where expertise, education, science and kindness are on the backburner only to be replaced by a pervasive sense that lawlessness and cruelty and ignorance are the new currency. It does my mind no good at all to see how badly we have handled this crisis for our generation. Key West as a holdout for thoughtfulness is a consolation, but this one human family is a tiny blip on the face of a national epidemic..
I don't know what the point is of trying to pass laws to make people see sense if they don't want to. In California the governor is under fire for violating his own indoor dining rules by having a  dinner party under what was essentially a closed-in awning area at the very expensive French Laundry, apparently open only on one side. When the author of draconian Covid Laws actively works to skirt them, what is the point I ask myself?  If we don't want to wear masks, if we try to avoid the rules like naughty children reading under the covers what is the point in saying you must, you have to wear a mask which in itself has become a symbol of political partisanship? Never mind the fact that doctors and scientists tell us its the best way to end this disaster, because a prominent restaurateur disagrees. Who would you believe? The businessman, obviously.
Let sleeping dogs lie I say. Trying to save people from themselves never has worked and obviously won't work now. I never thought much of the lockdown which hasn't in retrospect served Europe well. I wish we had had a strong mask mandate from the beginning, with social distancing and intense sanitary rules such that we could have pulled out of this with a reasonably intact economy. Instead  I feel as though I should learn to play the fiddle as I wait with dread for my next appearance in the ICU. I did not like being ventilated last time and I am not looking forward at all to next time, especially as some people breathe by machine for weeks. I don't think I could bear it as I was stuck with the tube down my throat for less than a day. I couldn't talk but my wife said it was the maddest she had seen me after I woke up, during my months in the hospital. 
Miami Hospital
I should much rather wear a mask, stay distanced and wash my hands. I'll keep the oregano for pasta night, thank you.