Covid-19 Tracker: The Human Stories of the Pandemic

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For people without imminent serious health or financial challenges, who are “merely” dealing with the anxieties of a global pandemic, worldwide financial domino effects and the illnesses of friends and co-workers, there’s a lot of time at home. Staying at home is the number one request medical providers are making of those of us privileged enough to not need to travel for work. (And it seems to be working.)

Proponents of the productivity industry would like the healthy homebound of us to learn Greek, advanced baking and sewing and also maybe clean your entire house while home schooling your children and putting in vegetable beds for spring and also maybe washing up our baby lambs.

But here in the real world … there’s a lot of Xbox (as noted by Stan Wawrinka, the tennis champ) and frozen pizzas and Netflix. Hence the “quarantine routine,” a joke format about how we’re spending our days at home. There’s a lot of sincere suggestions for daily at-home routines out there — we think the “quarantine routine” started in sincerity here, as a way of helping people think about how to manage their time. Those helpful tips were quickly replaced by something more relatable.

From here it has not gotten more reasonable.

Experts say structure really helps bring meaning to your days! Also you gotta only do what you can.

You’ll be unsurprised to hear that people are buying more things they need, and less things they don’t. Target released a report this week, saying that, in March, it saw a 50 percent jump for essentials and food and beverages, but a downturn in things like accessories.

That’s likely why, earlier today, Macy’s announced it had lost the “majority” of its sales — and was going to furlough around 130,000 workers.

So most “nonessential” retailers, like people who sell you clothes, are viewing their digital businesses as a lifeline. On Instagram, that means you’re seeing a lot of ads for weighted blankets — but also lots of work-from-home styles and designer sweatsuits.

On Monday, Anthropologie’s website asked customers to “invite color inside” by shopping the “cozy-at-home edit.” Macy’s encouraged customers to“recharge in new ways” with its “stay-at-home essentials.” Discounts seem prevalent across sites, though many warn of potential shipping delays based on the virus. Anthropologie also found a “date-night-at-home” outfit for their Instagram.

Foster requests at one shelter in Kansas City, Mo., went from an average of 10 a day to 250 a day; in Dallas, foster animal placement was up ten times over last year.

And it’s not just cats and dogs that people are taking in. “People are panic-buying chickens like they did toilet paper,” a president of one chicken hatchery told us, as egg shortfalls were reported in supermarkets.

Animal shelters grew increasingly desperate over the last week to place animals, according to NPR. Without adoption fairs, and without staff in some cases, shelters are struggling to respond to kitten and puppy season. Flatbush Cats, a foster group in Brooklyn, wrote on Instagram they were concerned about the coming “huge spike in kittens born on the street just a few weeks from now, as spay/neuter clinics across the country remain closed.”

Over the last few decades, animal rescue organizations have begun transporting an enormous amount of animals, mostly dogs and cats, from U.S. states with kill shelters to states with more adopters and no animal euthanasia. (International transport has also increased, with dogs coming to the U.S. from Russia, China, Mexico and others.)

The coronavirus pandemic will, presumably, end. But chicken and cat parenthood is a lifetime.

The Backstreet Boys put on a concert last night.

They sang “I Want It That Way,” and maybe they were just a little rusty in spots — it’s been more than two decades since the song’s original release.

The boys weren’t together, of course. Brian was in his living room in Atlanta. Nick was by a pool in Las Vegas. Kevin was backed by his two young sons, one on the drums and the other strumming a small guitar, at his home in Los Angeles.

They were among dozens of entertainers and artists — including Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, H.E.R., Ellen DeGeneres, Lizzo and Dave Grohl — who performed songs and recorded messages for iHeartRadio’s Living Room Concert for America on Sunday evening. It was broadcast on Fox and streamed on YouTube.

The concert was like a modern version of the old-school telethon, benefiting two organizations: Feeding America, a national network of food banks, and the First Responders Children’s Foundation, which supports the families of emergency medical workers dealing with financial hardship because of the coronavirus.

Some of the celebrities appeared in sweatpants or pajamas, dispensing advice about social isolation from their outdoor patios or on living room couches. Tim McGraw, in bluejeans, sang while straddling a diving board over a backyard swimming pool. Mariah Carey set up shop in her home studio, with background singers and a pianist video-conferenced in.

“The most inspirational thing about this situation is watching everyone join forces and lift each other up,” said Elton John, who hosted the video event.

“I’d play a song myself, but I happen to be quarantined in the only house I’ve ever been in without a piano,” he said.

With plenty of time on their hands as a result of stay-at-home orders, entertainers of all kinds have tried to help during the pandemic. From the singer Liam Gallagher reworking the songs of Oasis into hand-washing anthems to the actress Gal Gadot’s polarizing “Imagine” video, there has been no shortage of options for people looking for a potentially helpful distraction.

Enter Samantha Newark, the original voice of Jem from the cartoon “Jem and the Holograms.” Her public-service announcement from late last week, in which she warns about bogus medications and encourages social distancing and hand-washing, will help us defeat the coronavirus. Jem’s rival band, The Misfits, has yet to weigh in either way.

In a revealing look at how tight-knit the New York City basketball community is, and how devastating the coronavirus can be, Marc Stein and John Branch reported on a birthday party for a former St. Johns player that has left three people dead and multiple other people having tested positive for Covid-19.

The party, which was being held for David Cain, included people who had played at all levels of New York basketball — including Steve Burtt Sr., a former N.B.A. player, who talked about putting the pieces together of having attended a party that resulted in Lee Green, a teammate of Cain’s at St. Johns, and two others dying.

“We were just out having a good time,” Burtt said. “When I got wind of it, I called Dave to check on him, but I didn’t put two and two together. And then Lee died. I’m like: ‘Wait a minute — they said he was at a party. I was at the party.’”

Marc Stein discussed how the story of David Cain’s birthday party came together and the challenges that reporters — particularly sports reporters — are facing in a changing era.

How much of a challenge was it to coordinate the reporting of this story with the two of you in different states?

Stein: The reality for reporters right now, like it or not, is that much of our reporting has to be done by phone, text, WhatsApp, social media channels, etc. All stories are better when the reporting can be done face to face and on the scene, but it’s just not possible at the moment.

You both are used to spending a lot of time with your subjects and digging really deep into things. How much of a challenge was that in this case?

Stein: Speaking strictly for me, even in a season as rife with downbeat stories as this 2019-20 N.B.A. campaign has been, this whole story was out of the norm for me. Not only because we were writing about a community outside of my usual N.B.A. bubble but because the subject matter was so heavy.

It was a basketball story, but let’s face it: It was about much bigger real-world stuff.

With sports shelved for the time being, there seems to be a real challenge ahead for sports reporters. How does your mind-set to storytelling change and adapt to something like this?

Stein: Since my day-to-day beat is the N.B.A. and given the widespread interest in all the ways that Covid-19 is disrupting this ascendant league right when it anticipated moving into playoff mode, there hasn’t been anything close to a shortage of story ideas yet.





Source : Nytimes