On an Island

I’m on an island. The only land border was closed on March 6. The airport closed then as well. Basically, we’ve been shut-off from the outside world. If there is any place where the virus should have been easy to get under control, it’s here. Yet the number of active cases hovers around 3000 or so. The airport re-opened eventually with limited flights, but entry to foreigners was restricted, passengers could transit onwards only. Arrivals have not been the steady source of new infections.

It should be easy to get the Sickness under control here. In China they had a rigorously enforced lockdown for six weeks or so and since May everything has returned to normal. At least on this island we could be past this—but people don’t and won’t behave. 

Politicizing everything doesn’t help either.

The virus is wildly inconsistent in its effects on people For most people, they don’t even know that they have it. I have a friend in New York–mild headaches, loss of taste and smell. Went to the doctor, told him don’t worry. A few days later, headaches gone, senses returning. If it were me, I would have figured, OK, I have headaches today, part of life. Sense of taste/smell, must have been something I ate. Nothing here to go to the doctor about. 

Three years ago I had the “regular” flu, despite getting a shot. I was sick for a week, and I mean, “maybe I should make a will sick.” Fever, fatigue, even unexplained bleeding from the mouth. After a week started to come out of it, though I missed the big boss’ annual party and I think this contributed to my losing a job. 

There is no question that the virus kills mostly only those over 80. But even there it is inconsistent. My aunt lives in Clifton, Illinois, in a home in the middle of a cornfield, one hour from the nearest town. She came down with the Sickness and was taken to the hospital as a precaution. A few days later she was released. She is 95 years old. 

On the other hand, there are many reports of younger people not making it. No one knows why. I think we should have gone the Sweden route, used common sense and not locked down. We still have not. It is not easy to leave this island because so many countries have stopped issuing visitor visas. Lockdowns are a fact. I’m not happy with that, but they exist. I only hope this will be all over soon. But everyone says, “two months.”

On another island, at Mallory Square in Key West people gather to watch the sun go down. It’s a party atmosphere that has been a Key West tradition for longer than anyone can remember. There are mimes and street performers including a lion tamer TBA who puts house cats, rather than big cats, through their paces. There is a popcorn vendor who sells freshly popped popcorn. There is a sign on his stand which says, “Free Popcorn Tomorrow.” Except that the sign never changes.

Our sign could read, “Two More Months.” Except that like the popcorn sign, the Covid-19 sign never changes.