This Week in Disease

It seems I've joined the bandwagon in talking about nothing but COVID-19, but that's only because it's the most consequential news we have. Bear with me. 

The number of cases is now in the hundreds of thousands, but Japan is now way down on the list of statistics. Tottori still remains utterly unaffected. The numbes worldwide are increasing at a slower rate, but still increasing nonetheless. And since, as I mentioned before, it’s awfully hard to find out what’s going on in the world, I can offer a few words about what’s been reported in the media versus what people are seeing on the front lines. 

Toward the end of last week, the daily newspaper that gets delivered to our house reported on what seemed to be an executive order for ‘lockdown’ in the state of California. The headline made it seem like the whole state was under house arrest, but the text of the article explained that people were allowed to buy groceries and other bare essentials, but were forbidden to go outdoors for any other reason. 

My brother, who lives in California, reports that that isn’t the case at all. People are engaged in a behavior called ‘social distancing’, which seems to be a fancy term for increasing one’s bubble of personal space in order to minimize the risk of infection, but are no less social in all other ways. The amount of traffic and the number of people in the streets are no lower than normal.

It's hard to know what's happening in the hypothetical areas of hypothetical readers, it being impossible to get feedback on this platform. Perhaps someday we'll be able to have two-way communication, and then we can share our firsthand reports in real time. 

Suffice it to say that in Tottori the only real change is a slight increase in the presence of surgical masks in the streets and in the stores, and a slightly reduced supply of toilet tissue on the shelves. That is all.