Red alert, day six.

Still three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Suffolk according to tracker on BBC page. 23 cases in Tower Hamlets, as of 9 am on 17 March.

The US bailout programs announced yesterday were better than expected from this gang of thieves, but not enough in a gig economy. The UK bailouts are not even that good. There are so many more ways to fall through the cracks in a libertarian world. Amazon, headed by the world’s richest man, has put self isolating workers on unpaid furlough.

Israel is going to track people’s contacts and observance of quarantine on their mobile phones.

The Finnish monopoly alcohol producer is turning to manufacture alcohol for hand sanitizer. LVMH in France already said they would use perfume factories to produce hand sanitizer.

Glastonbury 50 is cancelled. Eurovision is cancelled. Balcony musicians are playing a duet in Barcelona. Balcony musicians have been told to shut up in Germany. Bono has released a “viral” song and been mocked for it.

Anglican church services are cancelled and Catholics have two days until theirs are. Parkruns are cancelled. Schools in Scotland and Wales are closing. The issue of the day for government is rent relief and preventing evictions (as well as forgiveness on mortgage payments). Not surprisingly the window painter cancelled his visit to my flat.

Shops and cafes are open. Lots of people out and about in Ipswich this morning including pensioners who are gathering for brunch as usual and not keeping their distance. Overheard in front of the Swan: “This is probably the last day for mingling.”

In the US hospitals are expanding capacity (Gov Cuomo press conference in New York) and doctors are figuring out how to hook up more people to a single generator (ER doc on Facebook).

Already nonmedical academics are figuring how they are going to wring CV items out of this emergency. I have seen announcements for a special issue, an edited book and a spinoff of that, and a crowdsourced diary study. “Keep a diary and send it to us for our study!” feels vampiric. A day or so later I saw another call for diaries, specifically of what is going wrong, in healthcare especially, so that we can learn from this pandemic. That seems more principled.

It’s surprising that there is no solidarity symbolism for this yet, no colored ribbons or profile pic overlays or Twitter handle add-ons. Someone in the old hometown did suggest putting up Christmas lights as a symbol of hope.

Everyone on the high street has shopping bags, full or empty in case they run across toilet paper, like Soviets of old. It feels foolhardy to postpone getting any regularly used food item you see, and have money and room for. At the same time, I’ve lost my appetite. For the first time since the year my mother died, I have to remind myself to eat.

Sainsburys is reported to be closing its high-service departments (bakery butchers) in the larger stores that have them and imposing four of each item per person limits. I expect before long the Suffolk police blotter will have incidents of toilet paper larceny mixed in with its usual cases of sheep rustling and church roof scrapping.

Those who haven’t been able to stockpile are now having to run all over the place to do their normal daily shopping. People who weren’t having groceries delivered are checking on ways and means for that. Amazon is postponing some restocks from independent vendors to free up time and space for staples.

I spent the morning assembling and testing the parts to teach students by Zoom on my ancient tower PC. I may finally be able to reap the time advantage of no longer having a 2 to 3 hour (each way) commute, but there is a huge backlog of marking and so forth to get through first.

When someone tweeted that Ira Kaplan from Yo La Tengo was DJ’ing at WFMU, Vin Scelsa’s old station, I tuned in and happened on this brilliant show (player / playlist) by Irwin Chusid. Not only Bono has been writing songs about corona virus. As a bonus, there is Art Garfunkel being the self-important goofball we always knew he was, and “Das Prinzip Mensch” by Peter Schilling, my new favorite song for practicing the old AP German (did a version of the course, never took the exam it was costly, I hadn’t understood the books that well, and I was going to MIT which didn’t care about humanities APs).

Posted on by Diana ben-Aaron
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