A letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald Quarantined in 1920 in the South of France during the Spanish Influenza Outbreak

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Dearest Rosemary, 

It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single dull star. I thank you for your letter.

Outside, I perceive what may be a collection of fallen leaves tussling against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources. 

The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a months worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin and lord, if we need it, brandy. Please pray for us. 

a poem: small kindnesses

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”

—”Small Kindnesses,” Danusha Laméris

Live Science: The coronavirus did not escape from a lab. Here’s how we know.

From Live Science

As the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 spreads across the globe, with cases surpassing 284,000 worldwide today (March 20), misinformation is spreading almost as fast.

One persistent myth is that this virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was made by scientists and escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began.

A new analysis of SARS-CoV-2 may finally put that latter idea to bed. A group of researchers compared the genome of this novel coronavirus with the seven other coronaviruses known to infect humans: SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2, which can cause severe disease; along with HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E, which typically cause just mild symptoms, the researchers wrote March 17 in the journal Nature Medicine.

Thanks, Stan!

Life in quaranTina-land. It’s the Jeremavirus!

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Tina-beans and I are doing our best to stay quarantined-ish. We drove down to North Carolina a week ago last Thursday and we’re hunkered down here until this whole Covid-19 thing blows over … if it ever does.

Our current goal is to paint the house. When we bought it a year ago, we concentrated our renovation efforts on the interior. We redid the kitchen, the bathrooms, painted throughout, ripped up the carpet and opened up the dining room into the living room.

Just before all of the shit hit the fan, we reached out to a painter for an estimate to paint the entire house. He was going to charge us $4500 minus materials. Continue reading “Life in quaranTina-land. It’s the Jeremavirus!”

When the discussion arises that “this is just the flu,” I recommend this chart

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Case fatality rates: Covid-19 vs US Seasonal Flu.

Also, this thread is worth sharing: