A hard wind blows wild with only 11 minutes to go until midnight. 11 minutes until May 11th – the start of deconfinement – and I lie awake listening to the wind batter the sides of our new house. The excitement is palpable. We’re almost at the end of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hearing wind again is a new sensation. We watched the lightning storm the night before with my son. He had never seen a storm in Paris before, never had a view of the sky as it flashed across the clouds and the buildings around us. Thunder rumbled continuously.
An ominous sign? Deaths are far down, logging only 80 covid-related ones in France on Day 55. The lockdown has ravaged the economy and upended lives everywhere but it has corralled the spread of the disease. What will reopening do? Germany is starting to see cases rise again. Paris is poised to find out.
There are two major developments that seed the sprouts of hope. The first is that tests are indicating that those who have had the disease have some form of immunity. An antigen serology test has just been approved by the FDA. If we can start getting a group of people who are protected, that can start to help open things back up confidently and reduces the chance of slipping back into a second full lockdown when wave 2 strikes.
The second is a combination of drugs including interferon that is showing promising signs in reducing the severity and duration of people suffering from severe cases of covid-19. That combination of extensive testing, proven immunity, and an effective way to reduce suffering means that whatever comes next will be less severe than what we’ve experienced to date.
That doesn’t mean that we are no longer vulnerable, but it does mean that the impact of the pandemic will start to become more individual and less societal. If tracing programs work, only those exposed will have to isolate. Extensive and rapid testing means that those who test negative don’t have to. The immune will be able to go about their lives resembling something like what it was before.
By the time you read this we will be able to go outside in Paris without an attestation. We will be able to run when we want (although probably not on Monday since the weather is awful). I will head back to our old place to meet with a specialist and pick up some of the items that we forgot in the race to move. The weather forecast for the rest of the week sees the sun come back in force. I will go get a few tattoos on Friday before we kick off a weekend full of BBQs. And most importantly, our babysitter will be back with us to help during the day, occupying the kids so that we can get back to work.
My to-do list has piled up. I’ve gotten used to Skype calls with the baby in my arms. I’m adept at shouldering a fallen earbud back into place. The mute button is my best friend and worst enemy. I have not, however, had the ability to block off large portions of the day in order to work on the long term projects. That will finally be a possibility.
After nearly two months of lockdown, we are on the way back.