The hard part of this distancing at work—other than not being able to hug anyone, even though we’re all under stress and i haven’t had a single hug in weeks—is navigating the smaller spaces, like the kitchen. We have to do a lot more communicating. “I just need to get water at the sink.” “I’m passing through to the office.” “I’m going that way.” “You go first.” We treat each other with exceeding courtesy.
“It has become increasingly clear to me that Catch-22 is a book, not only of its time, but for ours. It supplies the right model for making sense of the anxieties of this crisis and the irrationalities of the government’s response. There may be other reasons, or other kinds of explanations, that account for the various problems I’ve mentioned—to say nothing of the rush to ‘open the economy,’ the misallocation of vital and scarce medical supplies, or anything that Donald Trump has said, done, or tweeted.”
The Black Death or bubonic plague of 1348-1350 was perhaps the worst pandemic in history, killing up to a third of Europe’s population … It was not the first pandemic, and Covid-19 will not be the last. Psychologically, this one may be the worst yet – we are better at denying our mortality than our medieval ancestors were. The omnipresence of unpredictable death forces us to remember that we’re all mortal. But can pandemics lead to social progress, even revolution? It’s happened before.
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Just as rapidly as COVID-19 spread around the world, top-down responses that have allowed national governments to consolidate their power have proliferated in the opening months of 2020. At the same time, there has been an outbreak of antiauthoritarian responses to the disease and its impacts that look beyond the state and build power beyond this crisis.
We first need the resources to build systems that work. As natural disasters inevitably increase, there will be an ongoing need for relief workers at the ready to provide care. We require an increase in trained and licensed leftist physicians, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, mental health professionals, and alternative medicine practitioners so this direct work can continue beyond disaster relief and gain credibility.