Manuel Ojeda Aureus on What It’s Like in Queens, New York — the ‘Epicenter of the Epicenter’ of Coronavirus


As the death toll surges here in Queens, New York, now the “epicenter of the epicenter” of this global pandemic that is threatening to deluge us, it is blatantly evident how inter-dependent we all are with each other: humans, animals, the planet. We are all in the same boat.

I have just finished calling my relatives to ask them to earnestly pray for each other and for the world for forty days. Right. Forty days. Just like Noah and his loved ones did inside the Ark. Noah, the Biblical lockdown personality.

Another lockdown historical personage is Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who went into deep hiding in a warehouse in Nazi occupied Holland.

The circumstances are different but the menace to human survival is the same.

As soon as I nervously put down the phone, I gaze blankly through my kitchen window, pondering what lies ahead for the human race.  I cannot help noticing the empty robin nest standing prominently on the branch of the pine tree. I have been waiting for my favorite migratory songbirds to come and augur the Spring. They are not here yet. Perhaps my windows are so steamed up that it would be wrong to say that my eyes are not fooling me. I focus at the shapes outside again, but the nest is indeed empty. The robins have not come. My heart skips a beat. I interpret it as a bad sign.

Is this a losing battle? The governor has just “closed the valve,” and the order is to stay at home. Stay put. This is plain logic. This virus is not a living organism; it is a protein molecule. It has no intentions, no mind of its own, but when the opportunity arises, it automatically jumps into new hosts and increases exponentially. A viral pyramid scam.

The logic is if we can keep people who test positive – and the number is legion as I write this – from spreading the virus, the common sense solution is to limit interaction. Then the ill persons can get well without infecting the others. So let’s, for heaven’s sake, let’s stay home, or stay in the hospital – or in the coffin.

At breakfast, I listen to the news and cannot help feeling anxiety rise over me again. A nurse is being interviewed and says that unless we put the entire country under lockdown, they will be forced to practice “wartime medicine.”

I have this sudden impulse to go out now to buy a few important food items at the nearby Key Food Grocery while there is still time. I need to be in half battle gear, so I have my mask and gloves ready.

Psalm 57 calms me down: “And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge until these calamities have passed by.” My favorite robins outside my window come to mind again. Once, during a stormy day, I worried that the nestlings would get soaked in the rain. To my astonishment, however, I saw the mother robin spread her wings to cover and protect her nestlings. I wish they were here right now.

I step out of the house donning my face mask and wearing my gloves. When will this thing end? When will I be able to go back to our favorite restaurants and parks? How is it going on now in my beloved hometown Naga in the Philippines?

I continue walking with my shopping cart in tow. My neighbor Tom waves at me from his window. He is in his late seventies. We have this urge to talk to each other, not just the usual “how’re you doing” bit, but I stop a couple of meters away from him.

“Hi Tommy! Physical distancing.”

“This is scary, Manny. I have COPD and asthma. I can’t go anywhere.”

I can relate. The older we get, the slower our immune system works, increasing our risk of infection. “Stay at home, Tom.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Manuel Ojeda Aureus