dead rabbit march

100,000 cases a day

Today has been the fifth day in a row that the WHO has recorded over 100,000 new cases of coronavirus per day. The virus is gaining momentum as it reaches around the world, specifically Central and South America, and also in parts of Africa.

Starting in the early week of the pandemic and lasting up until about two weeks ago, I checked the Johns Hopkins virus stats multiple times of day. I was, admittedly, obsessed. I remember the day when the millionth case was recorded (April 2) –– it was unnerving and distressing. Two months later there are 6.4 million known cases (1.8 million in the US alone).

I don’t check the stats every day now. Sometimes I’ll look at local numbers to get a sense of how my immediate area is doing. By that great big number of global cases just keeps growing. Seeing it rise each day (now by 100K) is anxiety-inducing. Because we know it’s not going to stop rising for months, perhaps a year or two. A tsunami of sickness washing over the world as we scramble to get to higher ground. Where we can watch the next wave come for us.

The Ontario government has extended our state of emergency until June 30. March 17, the first day –– Day 1 –– feels like a lifetime ago.

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dead rabbit march

George Floyd

I haven’t been able to write about it. I haven’t been able to find the words. I’m still not sure how if I have.

On Monday, May 25, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd –– an unarmed black man –– until he died by asphyxiation. There were three other officers present who did nothing. It lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Today Chauvin’s charge was updated to second degree murder and the other three are charged with aiding and abetting.

This comes after a week of anti-police brutality protests across America and some in Canada, too, after Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a black woman, fell from her balcony and died after police entered her apartment. Most of the protests have been peaceful, but there has also been looting and fires, resulting in curfews. There is great debate about where the violence has originated –– there is speculation that some of trouble was started on purpose by outside groups and extremists. But what matters is that most of the protests –– from LA to New York, and from Houston to Minneapolis, of course –– have been peaceful, law-abiding, and inspired.

Keep in mind that a pandemic is raging around the world, and that venturing out into these community protests poses health threats in addition to the risks of violence and arrest. But millions have shown up.

It’s a movement –– rather an eruption in a movement targeting a 400-year-old disgrace: racism against black people.

With today’s charges, I’d like to think that after seven days of relentless, country-wide demonstrations, awareness is cracking this dark night.

Even with the time that self-isolation and unemployment has afforded me, I have not picked up a book. This has bothered me –– why? Why haven’t I been able to read?

Yesterday, on #BlackoutTuesday, I read about two thirds of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by academic and educator Robin DiAngelo. It’s a book for white people to understand how whiteness has provided immense privilege and has also made white people ultra-sensitive –– about acknowledging it, admitting it, and calling it out amongst other white people. It’s an eye-opening read that challenges, provokes, and offers solutions. It’s the perfect place to reacquaint myself with reading.

I’ve also been reading so much else (online) –– from news to opinion pieces, as well as following the words of so many inspired thinkers on the topics of racism and black issues. And reading so many heartbreaking stories of what happens in the US and here every day. I have much to learn.

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Deaths of 100,000

Today the US reached 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus (21,000 in New York). Now more Americans have died than from the Vietnam and Korean wars behind. This happened in less than four months.

We are still dealing only in estimates when it comes to virus cases and deaths — it’s likely that many go unreported or uncounted. So the true number will never be known.

Knowing of 100,000 is heartbreaking enough.

The front page of the New York Times on May 24 featured 1000 names of those who have died from COVID-19 — a stark, powerful and deeply poignant comment on these times.

These are

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Rabbits … very much alive

“There is nothing that cuts you down to size like coming to some strange and marvelous place where no one even stops to notice that you stare about you.”
Watership Down

There are so many rabbits this year. Are they thriving in this quieter world of fewer cars and people? Are they getting bolder and venturing into new territories — sunlit suburban backyards and the streets of sleepy towns?

I love to watch them. Gorgeous creatures.

Last night I watched a larger bunny relentlessly chase a smaller one around a storage container on a lawn. Do rabbits eat each other? I wondered. I hope not.

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dead rabbit march

Distance gives

There are a few gifts that self-distancing and self-isolating bring. If you’re a bit of an introvert, that is.

For one, if you like spending time by yourself (I do) –– even though that can be challenging when we’re in our “bubbles” –– there are more opportunities for alone time.

And there is less time for small talk. Stopping for a chat on the sidewalk without a mask isn’t encouraged … just keep it going and we’re all going to be OK. Make a few comments about the weather and looking forward to eating in a restaurant again one day and then off you go.

There is pleasure in the absence of people, in the spaces we now stretch between ourselves. There is more time –– so much more time –– to listen.

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dead rabbit march

Loosening some more, but not much

This week we’re edging a little closer to opening things up, but even then it’s not much. Retail stores with a street entrance can open to a limited number of customers –– with lots of sanitizing and distancing of course. Some people are allowed to return to work. Some surgeries are now being performed in hospitals, and more parks are opening. But still, we distance and gather in (distanced) groups of no more than five.

Meanwhile, every big concert and annual event has been cancelled for the summer. There will be no festivals for the foreseeable. For the second-only time in its 142-year history, the CNE will be cancelled (last time was WW2).

What the hell are we all going to do this summer (other than stay home, not work, bake bread, get fat, and lose our minds)?

The state of emergency has been extended to June 1, but we’ve been here before many times before. (I vaguely remember the first lockdown when we were all aghast that it might last longer than two weeks). And with a disheartening rise in new cases in recent days, that might get pushed out further.

Why? Iran has begun to see new infections after relaxing its restrictions on movement. France is anxiously waiting to see what happens when its lockdowns (the strictest in Europe) are eased next week. And none of us can watch the news coming out of the US. With 1.5 million (known cases), deaths getting really close to the 100,000 mark, and infection rates climbing, the country is already loosening restrictions. And it’s just a mess. And likely the key reason why Canada is keeping it border closed to non-essential travel for another month (but expecting it to last more months).

And here’s the worst stat of the day: Today the WHO reported the highest-ever rise in the number of new cases (106,000) in a single day.

So we try to bring back “normal” life in small increments, making the tiniest of movements forward, and watching to see what happens. If the cases start to spike we lockdown again. If we’re OK, we go on to the next stage. Maybe one day we’ll go the beach again.

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dead rabbit march

School’s out forever

Today’s news: Schools in Ontario will not reopen until September. It’s the longest March Break ever.

I feel for the kids who can’t see their friends … and omg their long-suffering parents. I can’t imagine how challenging it is to have your kids do all of their learning on a laptop while you also try to work or get anything done.

I’ve been a bit whingey about losing my job and my mind a little — and I don’t have much to complain about really. It must be just so hard for parents who have to explain this fucking virus to children and disrupt their daily lives so deeply, while also trying to process their own worries.

So many worries.

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