Locked Down in Beirut under Covid-19

April 14, 2020

Since I came back from the US (see previous old post) work has consumed most of my waking hours.    

During February and the first part of March I was mainly in denial, oblivious to what was happening in China, trying to finish my courses and the reports I had to write to be able to board a plane bound to St Martin on April 2nd.  Right now I was supposed to be in Martinique with my daughters.  Instead, I am still here in Beirut.  Outside its raining and the sea is grey and lethargic, so is my mind.  I was not very productive today, neither yesterday nor the day before.  Because of the virus, deadlines have been pushed and that has encouraged procrastination.

With no bars or restaurants open, all the drinking takes place at home and we are cooking almost every night.  I honestly don’t miss going out.  Sometimes I go for a run but most days I just stay at home.  I work in the living room and by 5pm, or so, I migrate to a high table in the balcony with a well dosed gin and tonic and a pack of cigarets. Natalia is working more and harder.  She joins me sometimes.  We have dinner together most of the nights. We go to bed early after a show or  a movie. I get up before the sun, walk and overfeed one of the dogs (see pic), prepare coffee, and start writing.  Somedays I teach via Zoom or record a class that I upload to Google Drive.  That is the routine, day after day.  A decadent life.  But the only thing that really bothers me is not been able to go visit my daughters and see Antares.  

We have it easy after all. For many, staying at home also means no work and no income.  We all know people who have lost their job or have seen their salary cut by half.  I did manage to publish an article about this:  http://ftp.iza.org/dp13136.pdf.

It argues that countries are facing a terrible choice:  protecting lives or protecting jobs. Given that for the majority the virus is not mortal, we should start given preference to the latter. IMG_0666

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