Good morning, Dear Reader. Today is Thursday, October 1, 2020, and here in my corner of Florida late morning (9-11 AM) is well underway. Currently, the temperature outside is 74˚F (23˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 61% and the wind blowing from the north-northeast at 9 MPH/14 KPH, the feels-like temperature is the same as the official one. Today’s forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies during the day, lots of humidity, a daytime high of 83˚F (28˚C) and a nighttime low of 65˚F (18˚C). No rain is expected to affect the area.
As of 9:23 AM Eastern, the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) reports that 1,015.049 men, women, and children have died from the novel coronavirus pandemic since the first breakout in late 2019. Currently, 34,020, 904 total cases have been diagnosed and reported, the largest number – 7,235,485 – is from the United States of America.
By no small coincidence, the largest number of COVID-19 deaths was also recorded in the U.S.: 206.971 as of 9:23 AM, a figure which, sadly, will have increased by the next time the dashboard is updated today.
In Colombia, the South American country where my parents were born, where I lived for almost six years, and where most of my relatives still reside, the figures are also not encouraging: 829,679 cases recorded and 25,998 deaths. That places my ancestral homeland – I, of course, was born in Miami, FL, so I am a U.S. citizen – in fifth place overall, right behind India, Brazil, and Russia in the COVID-19 cases/deaths tally.
As far as I know, none of my relatives has gotten sick or died from COVID-19. My half-sister, a retired nurse, has been recuperating from not one but two hip-replacement surgeries, so she is probably safe and sound in her Miami-area apartment. I don’t have any other blood relatives in South Florida, so the U.S. branch of my mother’s family is COVID-free.
As for the Colombian branch of the family? I don’t have all of my extended family members on my Facebook Friends list, but I have enough social media connections who would inform me if anyone had been infected with the virus or died from its effects on the respiratory system. I mean, I hope that at least one of my 13 listed cousins (either first cousins or their kids) would let me know, right? (Three of my cousins, all sisters, live together in my late Aunt Martha’s apartment but have no Internet connection, so it’s really 10 cousins who can KIT, as we used to write on high school yearbooks back in the Land of Ago.)
I don’t go anywhere – except for a once-a-month drive with my caregiver to the bank to cash a check – so if I get COVID-19, it will probably be brought in by someone who visits either the caregiver or one of her college-age kids.
No matter what President Donald J. Trump and many of his supporters say, it does not look like this pandemic is going to go away any time soon. I have read in a few reputable publications that the cases-to-death ratio has gone down somewhat, so that is a bit of good news. In Florida, which ranks fifth nationwide in COVID-19 deaths, the cases-death ratio is low: 2.03%. But our Republican (and Trump loyalist) Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered that Phase Three of the state’s grand reopening for business needs to start. So look for a spike in cases (and deaths) in the Sunshine State, especially because there are still “COVIDiots” who don’t wear masks in public places or practice social distancing.
Anyway, I will probably go out for a brief walk later. I have not done this often since I moved here, and I’m still reluctant to do so, as the key ring my caregiver gave me is smaller than the one I had in Miami and is thus easier to lose. I do need – and want – to start venturing out a bit now that the summer is over, and we are beginning to get some cool weather. But I do not want to get locked out because I have a hard time manipulating that smaller keychain and can’t easily turn the key inside the front door lock. Maybe I should tell one of the young adults either to not lock the door while I walk (which shouldn’t be longer than 15 minutes) or to open the door if I ring the bell.
But before I even contemplate that, I need to pick an outfit, take a shower, get dressed, and plan out the rest of this first day of October.
Well, that’s about it for this post. I have unlimited access to the Internet today, so don’t be surprised to see one or more posts here later today. In the meantime, Dear Reader, I hope you are safe, healthy, and keeping your wits about you in these extremely weird and uncertain times.