Corona Log Entry May 26,2021
Corona Log Entry- May 26, 2021
It is in the seventies today and sultry here in Western New York. Rain storms are sweeping across the northern tier of the United States. We had arrived a few days back, after a week-long journey from SW Florida. We encountered sporadic gas outages along the way. They are the result of a Russian mob hacking the Colonial Oil system that supplies gasoline to the SE United States.
Mask wearing was sporadic in the different cities along the way. Fifty per cent of the adult population of the U.S has been fully vaccinated. The panic is easing somewhat. Businesses are slowly reopening. Patrons are still somewhat wary of dining inside, but business is increasing weekly. The gyms and bars are now open. The CDC had declared it permissible to stop wearing masks outside, if you are fully vaccinated. They have also okayed gatherings of fans at Baseball, Hockey and golf arenas. I think they might be a bit early in their judgment, but the political pressure to reopen the country is immense.
The Corona death toll has reached over 604,000 souls since the pandemic began in March of 2020. Some 34 million Americans were infected. Worldwide, the toll is enormous. The virus is still raging in South America, Asia and Africa. The U.S and many European countries have pledged millions of vaccine shots to aid the poorer countries. I think the pandemic will rage on there for years.
There is an ample supply of vaccines in America, but medics are running into increasing resistance. The entire anti-vaccination movement, and other recalcitrants, are refusing to get in line for a shot. Still, day by day, the vaccinations increase and the number of infections and deaths lessens. The Drug companies are suggesting that everyone will need a booster shot of the vaccine, in six months, to be adequately protected.
In Washington D.C, Congress and the Biden Administration are wrangling over the size of the proposed Infrastructure Bill. From six trillion dollars, the original amount proposed, the tab is now down to one trillion dollars. Both sides seem to agree on that lower number. The use of former “relief packages” is under scrutiny. The added unemployment bonus, of $300 weekly, seems to be keeping millions at home, rather than getting them back to work. There are “help wanted “ signs everywhere, with no takers. Some of the other funds meant to revitalize business were ill-used as well. Biden proposals for a large corporate tax increase, to pay for all of this largesse, is meeting stiff resistance from Republicans, they once the party of “There ain’t no free lunch.”
Financially, the stock markets continue to chug along like it was Christmas. Tech stocks are soaring and housing inventories are at historic lows, driving the cost of home buying through the roof. Trade disputes with China have made many building supplies all but unavailable. Our condo complex in Florida had been scheduled for new hurricane windows. They are on a thirteen-month back order. Another friend was replacing her broken refrigerator. The only inventory left in the stores was a $2,700 mega machine that did everything but eat the food for you. Gasoline prices have soared to over $3.19 per gallon, for regular, based on the fear of shortages due to the Russian hack. I think it is the gasoline suppliers who are the real bandits here, not the Russians.
Overseas, Europe, Africa and Asia are still struggling mightily with the Corona Virus. India has been hit with new viral variants and has its medical system virtually over run with new infections. The U.S stepped in to help. President Biden said that India helped us when we needed it. We will help them.
To our North, Canada struggles to inoculate its population. Only 4% of Canadians are now fully vaccinated. The U.S-Canadian border is still closed now, for the last 15 months. There is little or no chance it will reopen any time soon. Canadians, returning to Canada from trips abroad, face a two-week quarantine when they reenter Canada.
The tourism industry in general is in the tank. The cruise lines are trying to reopen, but face severe restrictions regarding vaccinations and testing of their crews and passengers. Virtually all of the Alaskan cruises originate in Vancouver, so that cripples that entire sector. Some lines have resorted to originating their cruises in Bermuda and the Bahamas, to get around current restrictions. Customer resistance is still stiff. No one wants to tangle with the virus in such close quarters.
Here in Amherst, we go about our business virtually unrestricted. We stopped by the gym yesterday. Wiping down equipment, before and after use, is the only restriction. Most restaurants are open, but face customer resistance to “dining inside.” We have stopped by a few places. We wear our masks in and then remove them while dining. Stores and other recreational venues are open for business.
In general, there is a feeling that the virus threat has eased somewhat. The monster still lurks, waiting for the unwary to slip. We get by, one day at a time.
Joseph Xavier Martin