何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of this Pandemic

已有 2257 次阅读 2020-4-12 21:58 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

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One of the movie that made Clint Eastwood a star is titled “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”. I am borrowing it here to describe the Coronavirus pandemic in the US currently.

1.   The “UGLY” is obvious from the numbers. NY alone has more deaths from this pandemic than most other European countries. (MSNBC news report)

2.   The “Good” – Personally during this period I discovered the joy of the software APP called Zoom. First of all, we have used it to have family get together every other day even though we are physically apart (one grandchild is in Taiwan). Secondly, it has brought me some unexpected convenience. I have discussed the issue of attending conference and many seminars in the Greater Boston area. See

a.   On attending conferences http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-281906.html

b.   Why do I attend seminars at my age http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-688663.html

Now I can listen to these talk via Zoom. I don’t have to dress up and can be in my pajamas. More importantly I don’t have to drive and find parking space. And if I find the talk not interesting, I cannot just get up and leave if I am among the audience; while on Zoom I can just stop participating and do something else. No one will notice.

3.   The “Bad

Because of the restriction on people gathering together, all sports and public meetings are banned. More cruelly is the fact most hospitals and nursing homes have forbid visitors for fear of infection/contamination. As a result family members cannot visit sick relatives and patients are dying alone without love ones by their side in the last moments. Our dear neighbor, Matt Crimmins, for 54 years  is a widower staying in a nursing home. His nearby children as well as us cannot visit him. He knows this and last time said final goodbye to them while still alive – the saddest thing in life. It was also reported in the news that one couple who have been married for 61 years with one of them in a nursing facility due to illness. They used to see each other every day but now cannot. So the husband hired a construction lift which hoisted him three story high to his wife’s window to kiss her separated by glass. How poignant!

Finally because of the closing of all restaurants, demand for fresh farm produce went way down. As a result farmers all over the US has to destroy tons of perfectly good fresh produce just harvested (NY Times front page article 4/12/2020) due to no buyers.

This pandemic also made obvious inequity across racial lines with African-Americans dying twice their population average – an uncomfortable truth with complex social reasons/implications that were always present but ignored. Now brought forth for all to see. 

Note added 4/12/2020: According to MSNBC tonight, for countries with at least 5 million population, the US ranks 18th in percentage of population that have been tested for the coronavirus at 0.6% which is a terrible number. No wonder we are in a pandemic crisis.




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