God damn! I am finding myself in yet another COVID information spiral where I am just reading article after article that isn’t giving me any hope in how our government (municipal, state, and federal) is dealing with the coronavirus. It’s putting me in a mood and giving me a headache. I’m even squinting as I type this now, but I cannot stop. Nothing makes sense and I’m feeling a need for something to make sense.
image description: hand written block lettering in sky blue with a mustard yellow shadow that reads, “Make it make sense”
Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced that the state would be rolling back to our previous tiered system. With this rollback, restrictions can start to ease, including the reopening of outdoor dining and salons. It also accelerates the push to reopen schools. This is only four days after the state had its highest number of deaths from COVID at 764 people.
Newsom claimed we were on a downward trend, and so therefore we could reopen. When I look at the data provided by the state, I see numbers this winter so much higher than spring of 2020 when we were in a shelter-in-place order. And each number on that bottom chart is someone’s friend, lover, sibling, cousin, grandparent, partner who died needlessly. What the chart says to me is we are no where close to adequately dealing with COVID.
image description: a handwritten meme that reads, Science says: We still don’t know enough. Capitalism says: Uncertainty is volatile. Politics says: We have a plan.
Newsom also changed vaccine rollout prioritization yesterday. Some essential workers and seniors are top priority. After them, California will be moving to an age-based distribution model. Nowhere in the new announcement does it prioritize folx who are immunocompromised or those with underlying health conditions.
image description: a handwritten meme that reads, Science says: COVID spreads in congregate settings. Capitalism says: What about the ECONOMY? Politics says: Let’s reopen schools and restaurants.
San Francisco-based activist Alice Wong created the hashtag #HighRiskCA for disabled Californians to share their stories. Scrolling through and reading them, I trembled with anger over Newsom’s decision. Not only does this further fear and isolation among folx already confined to their homes, it creates the conditions for more death. It also belies the research being done that shows frontline workers (no longer considered essential) and disabled folx should get the vaccine first.
image description: hand written block lettering in sky blue with a mustard yellow shadow that reads, “What makes sense to you?”
This obsession over COVID news has been with me since yesterday. It’s made me feel a bit mad (in all of its meanings). I’m calling it the COVID Blues, and I seem to get them about once or twice a month. I am learning how to survive them.
Yesterday, I decided to actually write down some of the things I’ve done to survive the COVID Blues over the last ten months, and I turned them into a little zine. Today, I applied some of my own tips as I continued to spiral. I reached out to and talked with comrades. I put down my screen, if even for a moment, and stared at a wall. I did a bit of screaming.
And I survived today. That’s all I can ask for right now. It’s all we really ever have.
image description: black block lettering that reads, “Some tips for surviving the COVID Blues”
image description: two hands shaking (one black, one white) with the black block lettering that reads, “Reach out to a comrade & offer unconditional aid.”
image description: two eyes staring at the reader with the black block lettering that reads, “Put down your screens and stare at a wall.”
image description: an open envelope with a letter that reads, “Dear Repres… Pelosi, End ICE” with the black block lettering that reads, “Write a letter to a politician and share it with others.”
image description: a drawing of an emoji of a face screaming with the black block lettering that reads, “SREAM and then do it again.”
image description: one hand give two $20 bills to another hand with the black block lettering that reads, “(if you have some) Give cash to a neighbor without being asked.”
To print Some Tips for Surviving the COVID Blues zine, right click the image above and click, “Save Image As…”. Download the image to your device. The zine is formatted to 11” X 17” paper. Here’s how to fold the zine once you have it printed. (Video created by Sako Chapman as part of the Art Speak Internship Program at the Asian Art Museum)