I belong to a writing group of women. Most of the group reside in the United States. Four of us live in different parts of Europe. For the past year, people have often written intimately and eloquently about dealing with issues of Covid-19, Lockdown, their fears and their responses to the situation in each of our countries. I read my peers’ thoughts about Covid being politicised in the US with sympathy and empathy. From everything I read, we had it much better here in France.
Now the tables have completely turned. Here in Paris, we are in our third week of a six week third lockdown. Even schools have been closed. Non-essential stores are shut – although the definition of essential has broadened to include bookstores and hair salons. The US members of my writing group are sharing their hopes and fears as they move more into feeling some kind of end to this scary time in our lives. One talked about being so excited about a trip to see a daughter, others have written about eating in restaurants. People are going to baseball games. When one member shared that she was going to have a manicure later in the day, I felt like she and I were living in two different universes.
I have been fortunate in that I’ve been able to travel within France but it was not to visit or to vacation. It was to go somewhere that I felt safer from the virus. Since January, the cases here in Paris have been skyrocketing. Yesterday, hospitals were at 150.5% capacity. There were 153 new ICU cases just in Île de France. I was very fortunate to have gotten my first vaccination mid-March. I will get my second one this Monday. France is finally getting its act together and the vaccination program is charging full force ahead. As of today, over 10 million people have been vaccinated. That is 1/8th of the country. I suspect that in six months, we will all be needing a booster shot. Over a week ago, all of France joined Paris in the third lockdown. The curfew is still at 7pm-6am with hefty fines if one is out and cannot produce a valid attestation for why one isn’t at home. During the day, we can exercise, go grocery shopping, or go to the Library without an attestation.
When I read my friends’ writings, I get this sense of the world opening up for them, hope of a new way of life emerging, a sense of the worst being behind them. Whereas, I feel much more negative, that masks and social distancing, and fear of the virus and its variants will be with us for a long time to come. If I want to go out, I think very carefully about how important is it? I have friends who feel much freer to leave home and come into Paris and visit with friends so many don’t feel the way I do. But I think most of us do know we are in a very different place than the United States.
I read the New York Times and the Guardian every morning. CDC experts in both countries are warning people not to get too lackadaisical about all the safety measures that have been in place for thirteen months. The Travel section in the Times today reported that more people in the US were doing domestic travel but that cases of the virus were on the upswing also. And I noticed, that for me, it is easier to stay prudent when the weather is grey, cold, and rainy as it is today. Thursday, when the sun was out and it was warm, anyone traveling through Paris would not have believed we were in Confinement.
This is not leading to any conclusion. Everyone seems to have differing opinions of what is happening, where we are in the life of this particular pandemic. I would love to know how others are feeling about whatever is happening in their country and whether you are contrasting it to any other country.
Stay connected, stay safe and, for goodness sake, stay healthy!
4 thoughts on “Musings on month thirteen of Covid-19 and the Pandemic”
Hi Sara, Good reading …. People in AZ are not becoming complacent about the safety measures … masks are routine while social distancing is alway a challenge at times. I had coffee with 3 gal friends at shopping area the other day & saw almost everyone (including high schoolers) wearing masks even though we were all outside. When I think back to Dedra & my time in Beijing, I wonder about the Chinese honesty t about the number of Covid cases. Poverty is widespread with people living in close proximity almost on top of each other. Our hotel was in a Hutong where thousands of people live in substandard conditions … without even a toilet. Public toilets are down the alleyway every few hundred feet. Our hotel was beautiful & gave us a glimpse of normal living that we would have missed if we’d stayed in a western hotel. Not sure why I thought about China … oh, well. much love, susan
Sara, I’m glad to hear you will be getting your 2nd dose on Monday. I just received mine this past Wednesday. As for comparing countries I am not sure I can do that. I continue to read that it has spared no place on earth now and that Brazil’s numbers are becoming increasingly like ours were here in the states last year and into January. We do have a few states that seem to have alarmingly high numbers but that is no surprise from some of them since those who were so dead set against mask wearing and the government not telling them what they can do were the loudest. I’m sure you saw photos in newspapers of them. Now, not surprisingly they are the states with some of the highest numbers. I know of personal acquaintances who succumbed to the virus. I have always worn a mask and was wearing two actually bc there were (and still are) so many who would not wear them. To me not wearing a mask seems to be a pretty selfish thing when it doesn’t hurt anyone. I am glad France is getting those vaccines out.
Sara ~ Bravo on your second jab. I will be two weeks post next Wednesday and I can already feel the pressure from friends to meet up and pretend it’s all behind us. Ah, if only it were that easy. Despite how well (in my opinion) our state has approached this crisis (honestly, our state health department needs to win a public relations award for transparency and accessibility), our case numbers are rising. We are doing very well with vaccines but still barely 30% of the state’s population – not nearly enough to thwart new variants. Much is open, yes, but at what cost? We’ve figured out how to keep Covid patients from dying, but the “long haul” effect, for all ages, is very real. Sigh. I’d like to be more optimistic. I’d love to travel and see my sons and grandsons. This is my “next chapter” life and I’ve yet to figure out how to “edit” my expectations and plans to fit this world we’re in! Onward. ~ Lisa
Hi Sara, I’m so pleased that you’re getting your second shot next week. Hopefully, this will be the last lockdown and by June things will be more normal. I’m hoping to invite the Book Club to our new house by then. Bises, Henrie xxx