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The Virus: Week Sixteen

Continued from The Virus: Week Fifteen

The next day was June 18. At Target and Walmart and every sporting goods store, there are no bicycles, no weights, no dumbbells, no yoga mats, no elliptical machines, no stationary bikes, no mats to put under the stationary bikes, and employees are now wearing full-length face shields with the words FACE SHIELD written across the rim. Outside the Ralph’s where the woman bought all the water they had back in March, a worker outside is spraying down a line of sixty shopping carts with something that looks like what a pest control guy would spray if he found an infestation. The next day was Juneteenth, and if we wanted to go out now we were required by the state to wear a mask. The day after that, you could see signs everywhere around the city proclaiming NOW OPEN! WELCOME BACK! NOW OPEN! NOW OPEN! In Tulsa, at Trump’s first rally in months, taking place just across the street from where the Tulsa Massacre took place, almost none of the campers in line for the rally are wearing masks. Six of his own staffers have the virus, and when he comes out to speak, most of the seats in the arena are empty. He tells the crowd that he informed his staff to slow down the virus testing to keep the numbers low. The following day, his people say he was joking. The day after that, he goes on TV and says he was not joking. The day after that, Dr. Fauci says that he was never told to slow down the testing for the virus, which means he was joking, and it also means that there have been four versions of the virus story in four days. Meanwhile, our campus, which has been empty of teachers or students, has just shut down because someone there, an administrator or someone who works in facilities, has contracted the virus. By the next day they are saying that the number of cases of the virus is now growing in at least 29 states. The virus is not slowing. The US has just hit a new record for number of reported cases, and every day states are seeing the highest tallies they’ve ever seen. A sign has appeared outside the local pub where we had our last public meal four months ago. It announces in a bold blue and yellow that it too is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

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