Welcome to the 100th entry of Covid Diary BCN! For 100 days I’ve spent my morning writing about Covid-19 from my new home in Barcelona. All in all, it adds up to about 130,000 words. If it were a book, it would be about 500 pages without illustrations. I should have a parade, a flashy dance review, a drag show, fireworks—something to celebrate the 100th entry and the end of Spain’s lockdown.
Hold the phone! Barcelona residents celebrate tomorrow’s Revetlla de Sant Joan holiday by shooting off fireworks tonight, starting around 9pm and ending around midnight, or whenever they run out of things to ignite. Most of my friends tell me it’s a great night to get out of Barcelona. Tonight’s Festival of Fire sounds more like the thunderous days I remember the Blue Angels flying over San Francisco than a bucolic Midsummer Night’s Dream. Who cares? I get my fireworks.
After 100 days, more and more19 Covid- projects are coming to fruition. Here’s one example.
The Nextstrain open-source project collects pathogen genome data and provides real time visualizations of pathogen evolution such as the tracking map above. If you play the visualization of data from December 2019 to now, you can watch as Covid-19 infections spreads across Europe, and then as airlines stop flying, lockdowns start, and infections attenuate.
Another example of projects coming to fruition is this Dexamethasone study.
We’ve already seen results of the other drug studies. Hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help Covid-19 patients, Remdesivir shortens their hospital stays. We will see more and more studies that started 100 days ago bearing fruit. If clinicians end up with a handful of drugs like Dexamethasone that benefit very specific Covid-19 conditions, we may see the kind of decline in mortality that makes Covid-19 look more like seasonal flu. That would make Covid-19 manageable until there is a vaccine.
In the bad news department, after 100 days we also are learning that some Covid-19 survivors have dreadful outcomes.
In the past 100 days, we’ve learned that lockdowns lower Covid-19 infections. Lockdowns worked throughout Europe.
Lockdowns almost worked in the US, but it now looks as though poor federal leadership allowed some states to jump the gun on reopening.
That same poor federal leadership is holding a campaign rally tonight at the Dream City Church in Phoenix, the new epicenter of Covid-19 in the US. But don’t fret.
Dream City Church installed a ventilation filter that removes 99.9% of Covid-19. It’s as safe as flying in a plane. What could go wrong?
In the past 100 days we’ve learned that Trump cares more about his re-election than about the health of Americans. I’ll take the fireworks in Barcelona tonight over the contagion in Phoenix. Every day I watch the US response to Covid-19 is another day I’m grateful to be in Barcelona.
After today, I will turn my attention to other writing projects. I want to complete another draft of Dear Mustafa this summer. I have a short Covid-19 love story I want to polish. I may write some essays based on material in Covid Diary BCN.
One of my goals writing Covid Diary BCN was to create a record of life during the pandemic. When I was researching the AIDS pandemic for Dear Mustafa, I found lots of news articles, some useful timelines and histories, as well as good literature and drama. What was missing was a record of what it was like in the moment, how new information about AIDS changed the way gay men in San Francisco lived with the disease. Of course, I remember a lot of that, but I don’t remember all of it.
Another one of my goals was to keep my sanity during the lockdown. Thankfully, that is intact.
I don’t see the Covid-19 story evolving as quickly now. A daily blog entry isn’t as necessary as it was 100 days ago. We’re far enough into the Covid-19 pandemic that we can see how the story is likely to unfold. Deeper and less frequent analysis is possible because it’s clearer what the main decisions and objectives will be. It’s time to consider bigger questions than how we decontaminate our grocery bags. Like, should we fix the economy or change it? As I write this, I plan to update the blog about once a week. Let’s see how that goes.
I have dozens of constant Covid Diary BCN readers who’ve sent notes and tips, and more readers I don’t know. Thanks to each of you for following along!
I’ll sign off for now with this performance at Barcelona’s El Liceu opera house last night.
A string quartet performed for an audience of nearly 3,000 plants. The plants will be donated to healthcare workers. Welcome to the New Abnormal.