Quarantine diaries day 2: Life in the bubble

For day 1 click here.

I had a restless sleep last night. At one point I dreamt that I had two computer screens and was working on some article, typing on one screen and reading off the other. Only to wake up and see my usual computer.

Oh well.

Making coffee in quarantine takes on an added joy. Since there is so little in the way of things to plan to do, after having done 30 push-ups and getting the kids ready, I spent some time measuring out coffee, putting it into the French press, heating up milk on the stove in a kind of finjan, and preparing to enjoy the morning. The windows are opened for some depressing city air. The legos that I built yesterday festoon the table. A new biography I’ve purchased about Stonewall Jackson, called Rebel Yell, is on the table. I haven’t read much in a while because of work. Maybe I’ll read today.

Before the quarantine I watched news about coronavirus with a sort of religious zeal. It was interesting and horrific to imagine people in Wuhan being quarantined. The measures taken in China appeared extreme. People were being kept in buildings in an entire city. It was unclear how they got groceries or dd basic things. It’s now clear how salaries are made or businesses survive when work is suddenly interrupted on such a vast scale.

Then there were the stories about the cruise ship in Japan. In a method that seems to have increased the number of cases the government kept people on the ship. The virus appears to have spread while the people were quarantined with it. Hundreds were released on February 19 from the Diamond Princess.  In California a new version of that seems to be playing out with the Grand Princess. In this case the US is moving the people to several military base quarantines.  People from Canada and the UK are being sent home. That appears to be a different method than used in Japan.

Other measures globally are concerning. Italy has cordoned off the whole country and parts of the north.  Saudi Arabia cordoned off Qatif. Most borders with Iran are closed. Some countries don’t appear to be testing for the virus at  all. A press conference yesterday with the US President Donald Trump suggested the uS is actively using measures to identify cases, but there is a lack of clarity.

In Jerusalem, where I am, there is also a lack of clarity. The government is now quarantining everyone who arrives from abroad. I’ve been on a kind of reverse ‘last flight out of Saigon,’ having come into the country before the blanket quarantine. There  were no health ministry personnel at the border or anyone to explain the guidelines. Most governments in this respect seem to have failed in their basic requirement to inform the public. And the public has little recourse to protest. When it comes to health guidelines most democracies look like authoritarian regimes very quickly.

So far on day 2 of the quarantine my coffee is finally ready. Now I will do some work from home and do some writing.

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