Notes from my dining room table
WASHINGTON -- In 2020, people talk about "two Americas." During the coronavirus outbreak, there is one America, a sheltered America, with people who -- like me -- can work at home. And another America, an edgier America, that stands to be devastated by coronavirus closures.
There is also a third America that can be seen in the three states hardest hit by the COVID-19 and virtually shut down. In order to keep the rest of America from turning into that third America, sheltered America argues, stringent measures must be imposed on all of America.
To which edgy America responds: If elected officials close up America for one month or two months, what will be left?
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested a lid on gatherings of 50 people for eight weeks, Cathy Merrill, owner of Washingtonian Magazine, which employs some 75 people, wrote in The Washington Post that the so-called eight-week "hiatus" could serve as a "death sentence" for her business. While she was working at home, Merrill wondered how many of those setting emergency policy have ever run a small business.
I write this from my dining room table. I showed symptoms for coronavirus and had covered an event attended by someone who later learned he was infected.
I saw a doctor. I'm in home lockdown for two weeks. I don't know if I have COVID-19 because I have not been able to take the test.
There was a lot of blame hurled unfairly at President Donald Trump for the CDC's delays in getting tests where they are needed. The tests now have hit states, and people with symptoms still are waiting.
My doctor in Virginia has had tests since Monday, but a lack of protective equipment, general confusion and state protocols prevent him from administering them.
Unexpected kinks happen in a crisis. You fix them and keep going.
If this fight to contain the pandemic is going to work, the test situation has to be fixed quickly. I've been scrupulous about staying at home without knowing if I have COVID-19 because I can report and write at home. But I think it's too much to expect everyone to stay home just in case they are infected -- especially asymptomatic people living paycheck to paycheck or struggling to keep small businesses afloat.