Closer to home
When Jacob Tennessen’s beloved grandmother dies from COVID-19, science becomes very personal.
What has been especially difficult during this crisis is that no one in my family could be physically present with her as she declined, or gather in mourning after she passed. We shed tears alone in empty rooms. As this virus conquers the globe, my experience is far from unique. The modern world is getting a taste of the red and toothy side of nature.
Meanwhile, nature is getting a taste of the communal human spirit. It turns out that it’s not so easy to be a human virus. Most of us aren’t behaving like mere self-serving DNA replicators, heedless of the suffering of others. (Adaptive Diversity, April 23)
Jake Morrill remembers a mentor, UU minister Thomas Mikelson, who died after testing positive for COVID-19.
Though brilliant himself, Thomas was more interested in making sure other voices, not his, were heard. Thomas was a mystic and a healer. His relationship with God meant he entered the room with a kind of elegance, radiating grace. . . . [He] took faith seriously, he didn’t let slide any vacuous thoughts about God that I happened to mention—he’d ask me what I meant, how I understood it. The examined faith, one that withstood serious interrogation, was the one he promoted. (Facebook, April 19)
Diana McClean, after a lingering period of symptoms that seemed like COVID-19, finally tested negative—but the tests have a high rate of false negatives.
The bottom line is that whether or not this is COVID-19, I have viral pneumonia and am taking some time off work to rest and recover. . . . But I won’t get to stop being careful after that. . . .
My biggest worry about the test having such a high rate of false negatives, however, has nothing to do with my own current illness or even my susceptibility in the future. My biggest worry is that many people will trust the negative results, and that this will only contribute to the loud voices calling for us to “re-open the economy” and that as a result we, as a nation, will stop taking physical distancing measures too soon. (Poetic Justice, April 22)
The big picture
For Kim Hampton, a war language frame for COVID-19 falls flat.
Black, Brown, and Indigenous people are not collateral damage in this. When the powers and principalities make it so that the marginalized and despised are the primary targets, this cannot be called a war. It is something much more sinister.
The longer we’re in the midst of this, the more I feel like this is Hurricane Katrina 2.0; marginalized communities are blamed for their conditions and the rest of the country ignores what those marginalized communities have to say about why they are in those conditions in the first place. (East of Midnight, April 22)
Doug Muder explains Trump’s strategy for claiming victory, no matter what happens.
Trump’s rhetoric is quite different from what his “Opening Up America Again” plan actually says. The confusion he’s creating doesn’t help fight the virus or boost the economy. (Quite the opposite.) But it will allow him to claim credit for good outcomes while avoiding responsibility for bad ones. (The Weekly Sift, April 20)
Lynn Ungar connects the dots of the Republican plan to undermine the general welfare.
[You] have to teach people to distrust the government. One of the ways to do that is to demonize competence. . . . People with genuine expertise become “the elite” . . . . Competent people in government are replaced with incompetent people. . . . Government then becomes demonstrably untrustworthy. At which point it is logical to think that we are better off without it. Mission accomplished. We give up on promoting the general welfare and just let all the money and power flow unchecked to a handful of people whose only goal is to have more money and power. (Facebook, April 18)
One day at a time
Joanna Fontaine Crawford and her daughter, a high school senior, agree with the stay-at-home order— and they grieve the loss of important milestones.
You can’t logic away feelings, nor should you. We have to just live with complexity. Relief that the government is doing the right thing to protect lives. And sadness for the loss of the ordinary dumb things that before we could just take for granted. (Boots and Blessings, April 20)
Alix Klingenberg notices similarities between our anxieties during this pandemic, and those of a newly sober person.
If you start thinking about next week or next month you are more likely to begin to panic. You will be looking around for a way out, something to numb the pain, the fear of this moment.
So today, on day whatever it is for you in quarantine, remember that it’s ok to just get through the next 10 mins. Train your brain to focus in and figure out what will help you remain calm RIGHT now.
Get through today as best as you can. And then do it again tomorrow. (Highly Sensitive Extrovert, April 22)