Plague Diary, 3/15/20: This is generally where I would make a joke about using caution in the Forum this Ides of March. But the literal Forum is literally empty, and it turns out social distancing is a pretty good way to avoid all possible conspirators (I have my eye on you, though, Walter). I’m trying to stave off melancholy. I need to stop reading the news. I need to keep reading the news. I need to focus on the positive, make phone calls, make art. I need to not think about tomorrow or next week. I need to talk to people I love. I need to not think about whether the last time I hugged them was, like, the last time I’ll ever hug them( always a risk, by the way, if you’re human). I need to be practical. I need to stay positive. I need to stop needing so many things, because this is a time when we all must make due with so much less.
I am not good at being practical. I tend to glance over the details, go straight for the big picture–the whole tapestry traced across eons and cultures and continents. ( think that’s why I’m so obsessed with that Johns Hopkins virus map). I can’t entirely shake the shadow (can any of you? honestly?), but I’m trying. I’m trying because I want to hug all of the people I love again. I want to sit with them and talk for hours and go see bands play with them and put on plays with them and host dinner parties with them and do all the things that make life worth living. I have to try and believe I will. It is spring. There are flowers in my garden and leaves budding out on the trees. There will be fruit in the orange trees on Palatine Hill in Rome above the Forum, even if there are no conspiring classical senators or tourists to take too many pictures and think about the Big Picture from a big picture vantage of Rome and several millennia of human endeavor.
As of this writing, here are 73,968 people who have recovered from COVID-19.