Locked in mostly but not entirely
By Josh Resnek
I rise early. I dress. I eat. I don my gloves and my facemask, and I am off to Church Street in my car with a notebook, pen and camera by my side.
I don’t stop for coffee or a breakfast treat, which I am prone to do at Common Ground on the Revere Beach Parkway.
Like so many others, the hard working folks there are struggling with a takeout menu only.
I drive by, eyes open, looking around at the city I cover.
Amazing, really, during this week when the virus is rising to its height of sickness and death, probably doubling everyday this week and next week, to be driving around. To get back to zero – no virus – will take at least a month or two or three or maybe more.
As if that isn’t enough, there will be the slow comedown from the height of it, that is, this week of excessive sickness and death will be followed by a downward curve of sickness and death almost as bad as the worst weeks of it until the thing peters out.
The virus is problematic. Even when it appears to be gone, we are told by the nation’s leading epidemiologists it will come back in the fall for a second round.
Perhaps then we will have a vaccine although most researchers familiar with vaccines say it could take a year to a year and half before a vaccine might be discovered and readied for widespread inoculations.
It is Monday morning, April 6, 2020.
Lot’s of people are driving around. The roadways are emptier than usual but hardly empty.
Stop and Shop is busy. Market Basket is busy.
At Market Basket they have taken on the protocol practiced at Whole Foods.
Only a certain number of shoppers are allowed inside the store. All carriages are sprayed with a disinfectant and wiped down before being handed over to shoppers.
All employees are now wearing gloves, and many shoppers are wearing masks, although many shoppers wearing neither appear to be oblivious to the danger.
When you are finished shopping, you line up and await a store employee to dispatch you to a register, where you are checked out with no one waiting behind you.
The president’s experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx told the American nation watching the daily news conference to remain inside.
“This is no time be going to a grocery store or to a pharmacy,” Dr. Birx said bluntly.
Never the less, grocery stores and pharmacies remain open and crowded.
Sunday night, my wife and I watched “Contagion”, a 2008 movie with Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon depicting a worldwide pandemic of a virus that killed millions.
This was Hollywood mimicking reality rather precisely.
Scary, really, how “Contagion” relates the origin and spread of the virus and the fight against it.
Before I get out of my car and prepare to enter my Church Street office, I put on gloves and a facemask.
We all have to be so careful about what we touch with our bare hands. Nearly everything we touch has been touched by many others. The virus could be alive on that surface or many others.
Inside our homes where we have been cooped up, this is not so important as only those cooped up with us are touching door handles and pots and pans, et cetera.
Yet we are all supposed to be constantly washing our hands, cleaning our clothes, changing our sheets, and wiping down food we buy or have delivered from the market.
No one is allowed inside my house now but one of my daughters and my wife and me.
Another daughter has chosen to hang out at her boyfriend’s home in Revere. Five people live in that house and they come and go like nothing’s happening in the outside world. I worry for her. She claims they are socially distancing. I hope so.
My two sons are as different as night and day.
One son is a germaphobe. I talk with him everyday three or four times. But I haven’t seen him in three weeks. He and his girlfriend live with his mother on Admiral’s Hill in Chelsea.
My younger son lives in Greenfield where he is a bar advocate for the court system which has gone to Zoom hearings to keep some sense of justice flowing. He is fit as a fiddle but stays away from people.
He lives alone.
This kind of story is being repeated all over this city.
It doesn’t matter what age you are, this virus can bring you down.
If you are older, you can be brought down faster and more decisively.
If you have a pre-existing condition, and the virus hits you, you will be taken down.
As I drive around the city, it is hard to imagine just how many businesses that have closed will never open again – or if and when they do open, one wonders what kind of business they’ll be able to do in the post coronavirus world.
Doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in or who employs you, the world as we know it has closed down.
The government stimulus is going to help but not enough to get us up and running again.
Nowhere is the irony of all this more apparent and more important to notice than at Encore.
Encore has been closed for almost three weeks, and will remain closed at least until May and perhaps longer. It will be up to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission when it will be allowed to reopen.
Wynn Resorts is paying all of its fulltime and part-time employees. I assume it is also meeting its obligations to the city and paying its taxes. Unless and until Encore opens for business and starts generating income again, all payments Encore owes of any kind after the end of
May will be up in the air.
Wynn Resorts has enough money to operate with closed doors until
June. After that, anything goes.
There is something very reassuring about the car wash on the Revere Beach Parkway remaining open.
I know several people who enjoy passing through the car wash just to break the monotony of having nothing to do.
They remain in their automobiles. They drive away when the wash is finished.
If you have younger children, guys and girls, you wonder…how can anyone go out on a date?
Where can you go out to dinner in a restaurant world entirely closed except for take-out?
If you have kids who are in college you wonder if there will be a semester to begin in the fall or will everyone be resigned to another year of video learning because the virus has changed the world?
Everything right now is up in the air about what the future holds. This week will be a test of just how bad this virus is.
It will be a test here in Everett, throughout the state, the nation and the world.
What a week we have coming up. Let’s hope we all get through it.