"Teatro in Time of Plague – 68

Monday, January 4, 2021 - 123, 369 cases, 3, 180 deaths. (Not updated)

A beautiful day, sunny and partly cloudy, without getting too hot. There are still thousands of people in the highway medians and in shelters. People continue where possible to clean up their houses. The hospital system has collapsed with the after-holiday crush which is only starting (people lost all caution during the hurricanes and then simply dedicated themselves to Christmas and family gatherings without protection). Our cook in San José tested positive – she had symptoms yesterday and went for a test today. For the moment we can only hope that she didn’t infect anyone else. And wash our hands a lot. In all of this, our great advantage is that our house is not closed in; there’s no air conditioning (except for some infirmary rooms), and all the common spaces are very open. Almost half of the people who do tests in San Pedro turn out positive. (According to Radio Progreso). Edy, Luis and María are working on a plan for this semester. I am following the lead of Broadway and the London West End, that the covid closings will be at least through June – which means we will probably follow the route of radioteatro. I’m quite satisfied with what we have done in impossible circumstances.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 123, 398 cases, 3,181 deaths.

The official statistics contradict what all the doctors are saying: the health system has collapsed, with far more victims of covid than available coverage. With that fact, the farce of the mobile hospitals comes back to the fore. Seven were bought for 47 million dollars; one is functioning (the one in San Pedro Sula). The Tegucigalpa one has been at the point of being ready for several months. The latest for the 15 January. The other five are in place more or less, but nowhere near functional. We had another meeting of planning the semester. I like what they came up with: it defines the time but still leaves a lot of flexibility, doing radioteatro.

NPR just did a segment on how the poor countries are going to get shafted in the vaccine race. La Prensa for today carries a banner headline that only 50% of the country can get vaccinated this year; there are some agreements with the World Health Organization, but the government is already saying it can’t afford the vaccines. (They have stolen all the money earmarked for health care). La Prensa is the mouthpiece of the government, which I think means that 50% is an impossibly optimistic figure, and that it will be much less. If this is true, it would denote we have to keep the teatro on covid alert the whole year. Remesas (the money people in the States send back to their families) set a record this year – I imagine mostly because of the hurricanes and reactions to them, but also due to some extent to the fact that Latinos are heavy in the basic low-level jobs on the front lines who didn’t lose their jobs. The remesas represent over 20 % of the Gross Domestic Product. In the afternoon I did a radio interview that had been organized by Tony. I hate doing interviews. The custom area are functioning in the airport, and cargo flights have begun. They are beginning to schedule passenger flights.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 123, 822 cases, 3, 186 deaths.

We continue with beautiful days, not too hot, the best of Progreso. Spent the morning in a meeting with actors, to explain to them how we are going to deal with this semester – which we will spend basically doing radioteatro. The afternoon was dedicated to correspondence – and to the news from the North of the coup attempt on one hand and the Georgia elections on the other – a big news day. Our cook Jacky is at home in bed. I get the impression it's not a horrible case, but as far as I can see Covid is pretty horrible. Her sister Sonia, who normally does our laundry and general cleaning, is doing double duty as emergency chef.

We had a scare today – Omar, our lighting guy (who is all-around technical person) -- his mother-in-law has it. But he did a test today and came out negative. The building right next to the teatro is a diocesan center for retreats and meetings (with overnight capacity), which has been taken over by City Hall as the center for covid testing and treatment. I don’t know exactly what they do (I didn’t get a covid test there, for instance), but there have rarely been many people there. Today was a considerable exception – there was a long line. I suppose this is more of the post holiday spike.

Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 124, 899 cases, 3, 192 deaths.

More planning sessions. La Prensa publishes a list of the airlines that have already set beginning dates. Most traffic will be resumed around 15 January. There’s a labor dispute (which I don’t understand) that will now delay the opening of the mobile hospital in Tegucigalpa. Seems like they finally have the thing installed. The dispute is about who will be responsible for the new facilities. La Prensa headlines the coup attempt in Washington and devotes several pages to it. Mostly EFE/AFP reports.

Friday, January 8, 2021 - 125, 557 cases, 3, 244 deaths.

The morning was a continuation of the sunny but not too hot days; showers in the afternoon and everything has clouded up. They are predicting a cold front will come in tonight. There are still thousands of families in the improvised Tent Cities. The mud is so deep in many places that the clean-up effort goes very slowly. Odgar and I have been going for a coffee on Fridays, but we decided this morning it wouldn’t be a good idea to be in any “public places” for an extended period with the contagion spiking. So he got carry-outs and we had our coffee in the garden in San José.

Jacky, the cook, seems to be doing kind of ok. It seems that it’s a relatively mild case – but Daywing (our house case who is now recuperating) reminds us that any case is a serious proposition. The World Health Organization is trying to organize a program of vaccination of poor countries. If we qualify (there are African countries that have worse statistics than we do) their plan would vaccinate 20% of the population in the year. That seems to me the best hope of what possibilities have surfaced so far. Tony has been pestering me to do an interview, and we did it in the afternoon. In a coffee shop which I had not known existed, a closed space where we were together for an hour. A lot we accomplished in the morning with Odgar.

Saturday, January 9, 2020 - 126, 113 cases, 3, 255 deaths

The cold front moved in last night, and it rained all night. The day has remained “rainy” without too much water having come down. Luis was working all day on the plan for the next six months. He will reveal it on Monday. He’s got a thing all full of graphs and charts. The mobile hospital in Tegucigalpa will be turned over to the Secretary of Health on Monday. They say. The other five mobile hospitals will be ready in February. They say. Two of them apparently haven’t even left Puerto Cortés. Our president is in trouble again in the courts of New York: he is accused again of taking money from drug traffickers. He is not mentioned by name, but as CC4 (the unindicted co-conspirator in his brother’s accusation). His brother Tony has been convicted and will be sentenced in a couple of weeks. A new caravan is forming, announced for the 15th, which I think is next Friday. Both Guatemala and Mexico have let it be known they aren’t going to let them through. I suspect this will be a big caravan, but that most of it won’t get out of the country.

Sunday, January 10, 2021 - 126, 943 cases, 3,264 deaths.

The cold front continued in the morning, but it cleared up and warmed up a bit in the afternoon. We did a long zoom call with my siblings. It’s amazing how zoom has changed our idea of communication. The presidential palace says that it’s fake news, the news of the president receiving drug money. And La Prensa publishes a big thing about the Department of State publishing unbelievable figures about how this government has fought the drug trade. (La Prensa thoroughly supports the president JOH).

Keep safe and wash your hands,





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