It was great to read the letter from Besha because something shines out when somebody writes what is clearly the truth, the exact way she is feeling.
I hope it engenders in all her readers, as it did for me, a feeling of sympathy, a kind of loving feeling — and I hope that she and her fellow Victorians discover something special and important in the next few weeks.
Then, when it is all over, come up here to Queensland for a big hug.
I have always found winter to be daunting (I grew up on the Connecticut shore — talk about gray, cold winters) and have generally huddled inside for 12 Melbourne winters. But this year is something different. After the vicious summer bushfires, the rain started, generous but not imposing. It has kept on for months, and now Melbourne is green and lush and sooooo gorgeous. With the help of recently purchased electric bikes, my partner and I have discovered a vast network of bike and walking paths from our base. Now those chilly days are simply *days* that we might discover a new route or revisit a favorite.
I grieve for the lost connections and routines, and I am also deeply grateful to live in a country that cares about people, and I’m knocked off balance, and I’m worried about our collective mental health. What helps right the balance for me are the joys of wending along a lush path on a cool, bright afternoon, of seeing the full sky at sunset, and of breathing and moving through the world. And having someone to share both the lockdown and the exploration with — that makes most things just fine.
— Katherine Russell
Today’s letter, bathed in self-pity and almost entirely lacking perspective, is a paean to middle class self-centeredness. Boo hoo, you can’t have fake Christmas. Where is the concern for people who are less fortunate and therefore likelier to get sick and die? Oh, it rains a lot in winter? Maybe we should take up a collection for your suffering soul!
The Coronavirus Outbreak ›
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated July 16, 2020
Is the coronavirus airborne?
- The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests. This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain super-spreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants. It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared with larger droplets that are expelled when a sick person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. Aerosols are released even when a person without symptoms exhales, talks or sings, according to Dr. Marr and more than 200 other experts, who have outlined the evidence in an open letter to the World Health Organization.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
What’s the best material for a mask?
Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?
- A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.
What is pandemic paid leave?
- The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.
In parts of the US, we’ve been self-isolating since early March. Six weeks sounds like a minute to me.
The author sees this new lockdown as something imposed rather than a call to social good.
She’s swimming, all right. Swimming in blind privilege and self-pity.
— Cathy Harding