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Update Day 16

There are now 87,956 cases up from 80,110 yesterday, with 7,846 fatalities, up from 6,875 yesterday. The virus is yielding, albeit grudgingly, to harsh measures. People fleeing to second homes are being fined and turned back, for example. You must have a certificate to work or you can be fined. Spain is not getting help from the EU which constitutionally can not engage in deficit spending. The Central Bank has begun to buy bonds, both private and public, to try to keep the economies going as airlines and countless other businesses and their employees struggle to keep going. Our local bakery had 5-6 people running around like crazy to keep up with the morning crowds. Now there are 2, one baking bread and the other serving customers who are allowed in one at a time. Some additional businesses are allowed to operate under similar restrictions. Quel désastre!

The US looks worse. The caseload is mushrooming without the kinds of controls in place that Spain has. Spring breakers frolic on the beaches. The US has no national lock down in place, and some governors have not issued one on their own. Florida has the oldest population and no state wide order, as do 20 other states. Trump is finally taking the matter seriously, or so it seems. I hope he continues to listen to the pros.

Probably as a result of the reduction of activity the increase in the number of known cases is starting to level off in Spain, but there are still over 6000 new cases per day.  I think it will take until May for the numbers to start approaching  a manageable number.  

But even with this bit of good news I do not have enough tears. The ill. The dead and their families. The unemployed. My own inconveniences are nothing, nothing, nothing by comparison. I spend much of each day painting anyway, so now is not much different other than seeing friends, having coffee with my fabulous wife, going to exhibits. Still, nothing compared to what health care workers are dealing with, and all we can do in return is stay healthy and clap for them each night at 8.

Things are well ordered and calm in Valencia.  It does not have the the huge numbers of cases that Madrid and Barcelona have, at least so far.   There are about 5000 known cases in the province, about 25000 in Madrid and 16,000 in Barcelona.  The ICU’s in those two cities are at capacity.  Economically Valencia is probably no better off than the rest of the country, as the cancellation of Fallas meant that $1 billion+ in revenue did not materialize, yet much of the expense had already been incurred.  If it comes off in July it will be smaller, probably better than nothing.   

After we canceled our trip to Egypt we changed a flight from there to Berlin for one from here to Amsterdam.  Then the Netherlands closed flights from Spain until April 6 then extended that to April 12.  Our flight was for April 21. Then the airline announced it was canceling all flights in Europe.

Some areas of the Netherlands extended winter lock and bridge hours past the usual start time of April 1, mostly to April 12 but one area until June 1.  April is early for boating and it can be rather cold and gray so we are probably not missing much in that regard. Living aboard our boat saves us money so we’d like to get there for that reason as well as to pursue our journeys. This is comparatively minor issue of course, as long as our resources hold out, anyway.

By Gary Kirkpatrick

Artist and travel blogger.

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