he would be a dead ringer for Santa. Instead, above the round, smiling face which almost disappears into an exuberantly full white beard sits a slouch hat. Black shirt, open sturdy blazer, heavy work boots, and a large silver cross hangs around his neck.
We are standing that 2 meters apart outside Peet’s waiting on our mobile coffee orders. There are several whose faces I recognize, but other than Joe (Berkeley Police and wearing both uniform and name tag) I can’t call anyone by name. Peet’s has adjusted to an 0700 opening time, and mobile ordering only.
Meanwhile, J. gets his coffee, checks in with one of our homeless regulars who sits bundled up in his electric chair, and heads back to his blue van. It doesn’t look like a sleigh. But as part of Night on the Street – Catholic Worker, he has been collecting and delivering meals, sleeping bags, essentials for several decades.
The numbers of ill and deaths are continuing to climb. Part of the challenge for all of us on a daily basis is to remember that cases showing up now are from people infected 2-14 days ago (average 5-6 days) which means that social distancing doesn’t show a drop in new cases until 28 days after restrictions are instituted. In that middle time, everyone who has already been infected has a chance to get sick and spread their joy. To this point, the “average” person landing critically ill in the hospital survives several days in the ICU. So fatalities lag several days behind increased numbers of cases. The better the health system, the longer that lag time is, until the health care system becomes totally overwhelmed. Once it is overwhelmed, the challenges mount. There was a great article in the NYT yesterday discussing triage, priority setting and the burden it places on staff and hospitals, not just on family and patients.
Reality? I would forgo a respirator if it meant that someone younger would have a chance at long term survival. But not everyone of those over 65, 70, 85 would make that choice. Perhaps it is because I feel I am already living on borrowed time and have had the gift of the last two decades and these past couple of years to spend with my family.
But it is Monday – one on-line Zoom class I think is actually not happening this week due to a previously scheduled spring break. Back to my regularly scheduled procrastination and stitching….