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Yale 62

A Follow-up to Greetings from the Epicenter

By Larry Price

On May 1, 2020, I submitted a short essay describing the travails of Union City, New Jersey, the city where I live, with Covid-19. Union City is a town of 68,000 on the west bank of the Hudson River overlooking NYC. As of 4/22/2020, it had 2,144 confirmed cases with 103 fatalities, which truly made it the epicenter of the first wave. The essay closed with the consoling thought that while Union City had been one of the most dangerous places to live in America, it should now become one of the safest.

Well, it is December 18, 2020. How did that work out? The first wave ended for us on 5/22/2020 when confirmed cases were 3,447 and fatalities were 140. Over the summer, when Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California were going through the tortures of the damned, our numbers barely budged. On 10/9/2020, total confirmed cases were 3,712 with fatalities at 213. And I must admit that a certain smugness crept into the writer’s comments as his “been there, done that” theory of pandemics was totally vindicated.

Then the second wave arrived. By 12/9/2020, total confirmed cases were 6,720 with fatalities at 238. In the last two months, the number of confirmed cases in Union City has nearly doubled. Over the same time frame, the number of total confirmed cases in the country as a whole has nearly tripled, so one could argue that Union City is a relative out-performer, but that is a far cry from saying that our sacrifices in the first wave sheltered us in the second wave. So Union City, like the rest of the country, is reduced to waiting for the vaccine.

One of my observations in the May piece was that I did not know a single person who had had Covid-19. Now, I know a number of people who have been infected. So my very limited social calendar is shamelessly importuning them for dinner invitations, etc., since that is a “safe” invite. In my old age, I have lost all sense of scruples.

[Ed. Note: Here’s the link to Larry’s earlier essay.]


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