There are moments that are embedded our memories.
The morning of Tuesday, September 11th I turned on the tube, a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I raced to my window; smoke was trailing across the sky. Were we at war? What was next?
We can divide our world, pre and post 9/11.
Two decades later: another catastrophic event.
The coronavirus exploded in China, raced along to South Korea, to Italy, to Iran and moved to France and Spain and the number of cases rapidly increasing.
Social media, electeds and candidates are all offering “advice.”
The best sources of information:
John Hopkins Coronavirus Updates: http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/newsroom/newsletters/e-newsletter-sign-up.html
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Nations were ill-prepared and most reacted too slowly; we waited two months and even now our reactions appear haphazard.
Italy and Spain are in total lockdowns, only food outlets and pharmacies open.
Unfortunately we seem to having a state-by-state approach, watch the President and his closest advisors huddled on a stage, not practicing social distancing.
The epidemiologists, the virologists are clear, the more you test the more cases you will find, without identifying you can’t treat. New York State is setting up mobile testing sites.
The number of cases will continue to spike until ….? The Imperial College (UK) Report predicts 2.2 million deaths in the US.
Fourteen days, forty-five days … July or August? Dr, Fauci, the head of the CDC says we have no way to know, this is a unique situation. “Mitigate and contain” complements testing, the more data the more models can be built.
In New York City schools, restaurants, bars, all meetings, concerts, theaters, gyms closed: “social distancing” is the rule.
I live next to an NYU site and a School of Visual Arts dormitory, the plaza in front of my abode usually filled with students, today, empty.
I’m an avid bike rider, a lonely ride this morning along the East River around the Battery and up the West Side.
Schools are closed; teachers are being trained to use the online learning links. Needless to say there is an enormous equity issue. Most of the schools in the Affinity District, schools supported by not-for-profits (for example, (see The Internationals Network site) already have online capability. In the highest poverty districts many households do not have online capacity.
The Department of Education Learn at Home site provides grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject activities, the question: how many families will utilize? We know from the online Charter Schools debacle that online learning has minimal effectiveness, a stopgap measure.
I’m bombarded with questions:
“I’m a student teacher, schools are closed, how can I meet my required number of student teaching hours?”
“The required edTPA test requires video-taping a lesson and writing a detailed self-analysis of the lesson: how can I meet the requirement if schools are closed?”
“Will the grades 3-8 standardized tests be cancelled or postponed?”
“Will Regents exams be given?”
“Will the school year be extended into the summer?”
and on and on ….
Everyone is asking the experts, when this crisis will end, and, as the experts respond: this is a unique situation, we simply don’t know.
The 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic, in era before vaccines and before antibiotics killed 50 million people.
One one hand Governor Cuomo is painting a bleak picture, overflowing hospitals, lack of supplies, lack of faculties, and bluntly saying only federal government has the resources to respond.
President Trump and his team paint a far brighter picture (with the exception of Dr. Fauci)
The economic impact is another story completely, President Trump predicts a rapid bounce back; others see a depression paralleling the Great Depression.
I’m not in an upbeat frame of mind: listen to Leonard Cohen, “You Want It Darker”