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Covid-19 tightens its grip on the Big Apple – Asia Times

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

The clerk at the last local grocery that delivers fresh produce told me she was quitting. She was afraid to take the subway to work, because New Yorks homeless have taken over the trains, as daytime temperatures hover around 6 degrees Centigrade. Homeless men living on subway trains were a nuisance before the epidemic as well as a health hazard. In January the corpse of an indigent man was found covered in bedbugs in a subway car.

With normal ridership down more than 90%, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is depending on a $4 billion bailout under the federal governments aid package to pay interest on its bonds, and the homeless have turned the subways into a squatters paradise. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio has a soft spot for the homeless and police dont interfere. But that crowds out low-wage supermarket workers and puts the citys food distribution at risk.

Its no use ordering food from Amazon, which was supposed to up-end the grocery business with its Amazon Fresh delivery service. There isnt a delivery slot available in New York for the next month. Fresh Direct, the other big home delivery chain, has no slots available, either. Fresh Direct is out of most long-life foods, but that doesnt matter, because if they had them, they couldnt deliver them. For those without the cupboard-full of dried beans, pasta and rice that I laid in before the crisis hit, it means risking the supermarket. Amazon still has hazmat suits in stock. Home delivery of food is almost as laborious as a trip to the supermarket because each item must be disinfected separately.

A hospital administrator reports that elderly people now comprise only a small fraction of coronavirus cases. The vast majority are in their 30s, 40s or 50s. And about a fifth of them show myocarditis viral infection of the heart muscle. The coronavirus, European physicians learned several weeks ago, sometimes ignores the lungs and goes straight after internal organs heart, kidneys and liver. The high death rate among the Italian elderly appears to be the result of a simple lack of ventilators. New York is not yet out of ventilators, but in many hospitals patients are lying or seated in corridors. But physicians are at a loss to treat viral heart infections that attack apparently healthy young people as much as the comorbid elderly.

Emergency calls have increased from an average of 3,500 a day to 6,000, and there still arent enough test kits to screen the emergency responders who have the most frequent contact with Covid-19 patients. As a result many Emergency Medical Service personnel are sleeping in their cars to avoid infecting their families, according to the president of their union.

Crime is up, except for rape you can steal a car or mug a passerby and maintain the recommended distance of six feet from your victim. Robbery is up 29% but rape is down about 24%. Burglaries are up, presumably because so many shops are shuttered and vulnerable. Felonious assault is barely changed (up 8.5%), a surprising number considering how many criminals are self-isolating with their criminal roommates.

Its worse elsewhere, to be sure. In Baltimore, Mayor Jack Young issued a public plea to the citys residents to stop shooting each other and offered free intensive care unit beds for coronavirus victims.

Meanwhile, hopes for recovery in equity prices vaporized as US stock prices fell sharply yesterday, the last day of the stock markets worst quarter since 1987, and again today, when major indices were down about 3% at midday. Cracks continue to appear in important parts of the financial system.

Western Asset Management, a major US money manager, was forced to ask a major investor in its high-yield bond ETF to postpone a $190 million sell order because it would not be able to find buyers for the debt at anything but distress prices. Invesco, another major money manager, sold $1 billion on mortgage-backed securities this morning, as investors worried that tenants will be unable to pay rent on offices, hotels and other commercial properties.

Add to that the collapse of oil prices to around $20 a barrel, half the level required for most shale operators to stay in business. The accumulation of credit problems portends a prolonged slump. Most Wall Street firms have abandoned earlier forecasts of a V-shaped recovery.

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Covid-19 tightens its grip on the Big Apple - Asia Times

Talk About Being Wrong: NYC Mayor Advised People to Go Out and Congregate on March 10th – Frank Report

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

By Bangkok

New York Citys high coronavirus infection rate can be traced back to this interview with the mayor of NYC:

Listen to this interview please.

On March 10th, Mayor Bill de Blasio said this disease offers VERY LITTLE THREAT to New Yorkers under 50, LOL.

Shortly before Mayor de Blasio tried to blame Trump for NYCs problems, he was seen on TV telling people that Coronavirus was basically the flu and that only people over 50 (or with pre-existing conditions) should employ social distancing. LOL.

The NYC mayor literally said that everybody else should just go on with normal life, with no containment measures.

This was on March 10 that he said this. Very recently.

You cant make this stuff up.

On March 10th he was telling people its just the flu and that theres no need for any precautionary measures for people under 50 or healthy.

and now NYC is the epicenter of the outbreak in the USA.

Its almost comical how the Democrats are ignoring their own politicians giving out media advice which they now claim has cost many lives.

Just like Joe Biden criticized Trump for banning flights from China back on January 29th (very early) but yet hes now saying that Trump didnt act early enough, LOL.

Biden already said that he wouldnt have banned flights from China so early (because its racist, he said) yet now hes claiming that Trump should have done that sooner??

This isnt just hypocrisy among Democrats, its a sign of dementia or retardation.

I have outlined several problems with Ken Gibsons overly dramatic reportPlastic Tents to House Coronavirus Patients in Central Park Might Result in Deadly Bio Hazard in NYC

1) Plastic tents put up in a NYC [Central] park during a quarantine period where nobody is frequenting the park for fun will NOT pose any more risk to the general public. In fact, removing those patients from the park and crowding them into a building would only force more non-infected people to be closer to them, making infection even more likely.

2) Its not as if kids and dog walkers will be strolling near the tents each day for fun. People are staying home with their doors locked as if a nuclear attack is underway, LOL. The only people at risk (by these hospital tents) are the uninfected people caring for these patients however, they arent in any more danger than if they were caring for these same patients inside a crowded building.

3) Overcrowded NYC hospitals are literally a BREEDING GROUND for this virus. The fact that professional nurses and doctors are working in these hospitals doesnt change this fact. Keeping patients in tents (outside) will give them more physical distance between each bed than if they are crowded into an overcrowded hospital.

4) Contrary to Kens hysteria, this virus is NOT airborne and is not being carried (thru the air) far away from the tent site towards innocent bystanders. If you dont walk within spitting distance of a victim then you cant get infected via droplets.

5) While the virus can theoretically live on plastic for 48-72 hours in carefully controlled lab conditions (not outside in a storm), theres little risk from tents blowing away and infecting mass numbers of people.


For there to be a risk, wed have to assume that the tents arent anchored firmly into the ground - but they probably are anchored, since hospital tents are constructed to survive in rainy/windy environments around the world in 3rd world countries. If they could blow away from a simple NY rain shower in the spring, theyd be unfit for use anywhere.

Im sure these tents are anchored firmly into the ground and are constructed as medical tents.

I seriously doubt that a simple rain shower is gonna send these tents airborne.

Im also sure that no blizzards will happen in NYC during the spring. LOL.

But even IF these tents somehow blew away in a phantom spring blizzard (LOL) theres little chance for mass infection to the general public.


Cuz most people are hiding INSIDE their homes during the quarantine, LOL.

You dont have massive numbers of people walking near the tent site, just waiting to be overcome by flying tents if a blizzard just happens to magically materialize, LOL.

and even IF one or two unlucky people just happen to be walking near the tent site at a time when a spring blizzard just happens to blow these tents into them, LOL, itll only result in a couple of people being infected with a virus that gives flu-like symptoms for 99% of everyone who gets it.

So in a worst case scenario, one or two unlucky bystanders could theoretically get a tent blown into them if a SPRING BLIZZARD somehow manages to overpower the anchoring mechanism of these tents (and sends them flying hundreds of feet away). LOL.

Thats not a mass infection.

Thats just 1 or 2 unlucky bystanders wholl have flu symptoms for a week or two.

The chances of a bystander aged 70+ walking near those tents is probably ZERO percent. LOL.

Nothing to see here.

Ken is using fuzzy logic to become a scare monger.

Theres far more risk shopping in NYC grocery stores than there is from these tents in the park.

Every time you visit the grocery store youll be FAR CLOSER to many people, several of whom could be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. We know that most people have mild or even no symptoms.

How many grocery stores are open in NYC? Probably hundreds. Each one poses far more risk than these tents.

We also know that the surfaces at each grocery store have been touched by thousands of people each day, which poses a far greater risk than waiting for a magical blizzard to blow a stray tent into an innocent bystander, LOL.

Can we finally begin to dispense with the stupid hysteria?

Yes, this virus contagious. But for 99% of people its still nothing more than mild symptoms.

Its NOT the ebola virus.

Getting this virus is not a death sentence, except for the rare few with compromised immune systems who can already die from the flu.

Calm down people.

Well be fine by summer.

New study shows that hotter temperatures have been found to reduce COVID transmission:

When you add this fact to our current national lockdown, the summer should be just fine.

Have a nice day.

Using a face mask is USELESS for protecting yourself.

Face masks can only protect OTHERS from your own coughing (they wont protect YOU from THEIR coughing).


Because your EYES are the most exposed part of your face which arent covered by a mask.

Its USELESS to cover your nose/mouth if youre still leaving your EYES exposed to droplets, you dumb fucks.

If somebody coughs on you, your eyes will soak up anything in the air unless youre wearing GOGGLES.

Unless you wear GOGGLES (along with a mask) then youre not protected. Youre only PRETENDING to be protected, kinda like a small child playing make believe doctor.

Have a nice day.

A new study (just published yesterday) finds that C-virus death rates are MUCH lower than originally reported, mostly due to lack of testing of people with mild or no symptoms.

Its reporting that C-virus death rates are only 0.66% (or possibly less, once serology testing is done).

Once we roll out widespread serology testing over the next month or two, well learn about the many infected people who never sought medical help or testing, which will lower this death rate even more.

The more widespread the infection rate truly is (that we didnt know about) the lower the death rate figure will be.

Its quite possible that many more people were infected that werent tested. No country has done extensive enough serology testing to give a truly accurate number yet.

Serology testing will finally tell the tale that nobody will be able to dispute.

AnonyFaker, Joe OHara and Paul will all DREAD learning about the serology testing numbers when they come out.

These 3 guys want the death rate to be 4%-7% cuz thats what CNN told them. They want maximum deaths. They wont be happy to learn about the lower death rates.

Oh This study also suggests that despite the media cherry picking a few younger cases (to highlight that people under 50 years old can die), the truth is that mostly older and weaker people are dying.

Cherry picking a few 30 year olds doesnt change the facts.

You can cherry pick the same 30 year olds dying from the flu if you want to, but that doesnt change the fact that mostly older and weaker people die.

The data is all that matters.

C-virus does cause a higher death rate in older people than the flu, but the overall death rate will likely be only 2 or 3 times higher than the flu. Not exactly a worldwide plague, LOL.

Once the serology data comes out people will be less hysterical when they learn the final numbers.

Thats the key to restarting the economy and Trumps team is wise to wait for these numbers.

It was wise to delay restarting the economy from Easter to end of April (basically a 2 week delay). In fact, I think he should delay until mid May when the serology numbers begin coming out in greater volume, which will give people the facts once and for all.

Presenting clarity and factual data is the only way to put people at ease.

Have a nice day.

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Talk About Being Wrong: NYC Mayor Advised People to Go Out and Congregate on March 10th - Frank Report

20 Games, Shows, Books, and More That Got Us Through March – SELF

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

Every month, I typically round up the books SELF staffers read and loved. But with everything going on with the new coronavirus crisis, a lot of us havent been able to concentrate on reading in weeks. So instead, for this month, I broadened my scope and asked my coworkers to share any form of entertainment that they enjoyed in the month of Marchspecifically, anything that distracted them, soothed them, kept them afloat, and made them feel a little more okay among the chaos. Here are the books, movies, TV shows, albums, and games that got us through:

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

As someone who has spent more than a few hours in therapy over the years, I was immediately intrigued by this book, written by a therapist who has a much-loved advice column for The Atlantic. I've always been incredibly curious about what therapists think of their patients (me, specifically), and have wondered why they do the things they do as part of their practice. In that sense, this book was very cool: It gave a really interesting perspective into how therapy is supposed to work, how therapists work through problems with patients, and what therapists think the point of therapy is in the first place.

But on a somewhat deeper level, it was also a really wonderful soothing balm for me at the beginning of March, when the world (for me, in a suburb of New York City) was just about to turn upside down. I had two weeks left of my parental leave, was preparing to go back to work and feeling really sad about it, and simultaneously I was slowly stocking up on shelf-stable foods in case we needed to quarantine inside due to a deadly pandemic (we did). I was obsessively reading all news about coronavirus that I could find, and having this book to turn to instead of opening up Twitter was very helpful at keeping me from just spinning off the face of the planet (inside my head). Carolyn Kylstra, editor-in-chief

Read it: $28, or

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20 Games, Shows, Books, and More That Got Us Through March - SELF

Paul Theroux Recalls a Fear-Filled Lockdown – The New York Times

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

In this season of infection, the stock market little more than a twitching corpse, in an atmosphere of alarm and despondency, I am reminded of the enlightenments of the strict curfew Uganda endured in 1966. It was, for all its miseries, an episode of life lessons, as well as monotonous moralizing (because most crises enliven bores and provoke sententiousness). I would not have missed it for anything.

That curfew evoked like today the world turned upside-down. This peculiarity that we are now experiencing, the nearest thing to a world war, is the key theme in many of Shakespeares plays and Jacobean dramas, of old ballads, apocalyptic paintings and morality tales. It is the essence of tragedy and an occasion for license or retribution. As Hamlet says to his fathers ghost, Time is out of joint.

In Uganda, the palace of the king of Buganda, the Kabaka, Mutesa II also known as King Freddie had been attacked by government troops on the orders of the prime minister, Milton Obote. From my office window at Makerere University, where I was a lecturer in English in the Extra Mural department, I heard the volleys of heavy artillery, and saw smoke rising from the royal enclosure on Mengo Hill. The assault, led by Gen. Idi Amin, resulted in many deaths. But the king eluded capture; he escaped the country in disguise and fled to Britain. The period that followed was one of oppression and confusion, marked by the enforced isolation of a dusk-to-dawn curfew. But, given the disorder and uncertainty, most people seldom dared to leave home at all.

The curfew was a period of fear, bad advice, arbitrary searches, intimidation and the nastiness common in most civil unrest, people taking advantage of chaos to settle scores. Uganda had a sizable Indian population, and Indian people were casually mugged, their shops ransacked and other minorities victimized or sidelined. It was also an interlude of hoarding, and of drunkenness, lawlessness and licentiousness, born of boredom and anarchy.

Kifugo! I heard again and again of the curfew a Swahili word, because it was the lingua franca there. Imprisonment! Yes, it was enforced confinement, but I also felt privileged to be a witness: I had never seen anything like it. I experienced the stages of the coup, the suspension of the constitution, the panic buying and the effects of the emergency. My clearest memory is of the retailing of rumors outrageous, frightening, seemingly improbable but who could dispute them? Our saying then was, Dont believe anything you hear until the government officially denies it.

Speaking for myself, as a traveler, any great crisis war, famine, natural disaster or outrage ought to be an occasion to bear witness, even if it means leaving the safety of home. The fact that it was the manipulative monster Chairman Mao who said, All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience, does not make the apothegm less true. It is or should be the subtext for all travelers chronicles.

The curfew three years into my time in Africa was my initiation into the misuse of power, of greed, cowardice and selfishness; as well as, also, their opposites compassion, bravery, mutual aid and generosity. Even at the time, 24-years-old and fairly callow, I felt I was lucky in some way to be witnessing this convulsion. It was not just that it helped me to understand Africa better; it offered me insights into crowds and power and civil unrest generally, allowing me to observe in extreme conditions the nuances of human nature.

I kept a journal. In times of crisis we should all be diarists and documentarians. Were bound to wail and complain, but its also useful to record the particularities of our plight. We know the progress of Englands Great plague of 1665 because Samuel Pepys anatomized it in his diary. On April 30 he wrote: Great fears of the sickness here in the City it being said that two or three houses are already shut up. God preserve us all! Later, on June 25, The plague increases mightily. And by July 26: The Sicknesse is got into our parish this week; and is endeed everywhere.

A month later he notes the contraction of business: To the Exchange, which I have not been a great while. But Lord how sad a sight it is to see the streets empty of people, and very few upon the Change, jealous of every door that one sees shut up lest it should be the plague and about us, two shops in three, if not more, generally shut up.

In that outbreak of bubonic plague, spread by rat fleas, a quarter of Londons population died.

My diary these days sounds a lot like Pepys, though without the womanizing, snobbery or name dropping. The progress of the Covid 19 pandemic is remarkably similar to that of the plague year, the same upside-down-ness and the dizziness it produces, the muddle of daily life, the collapse of commerce, the darkness at noon, a haunting paranoia in the sudden proximity to death. And so much of what concerned me as important in the earlier pages of my diary now seems mawkish, trivial or beneath notice. This virus has halted the routine of the day to day and impelled us, in a rare reflex from our usual hustling, to seek purification.

Still writing gives order to the day and helps inform history. In my journal of the Ugandan curfew I made lists of the rumors and tried to estimate the rate at which they traveled; I noted the instances of panic and distraction there were many more car crashes than usual, as drivers minds were on other things. Ordinary life was suspended, so we had more excuses to do as we pleased.

My parents habits were formed during the Great Depression, which this present crisis much resembles. They were ever after frugal, cautious and scornful of wasters: My father developed a habit of saving string, paper bags, nails and screws that he pried out of old boards. The Depression made them distrustful of the stock market, regarding it as a casino. They were believers in education, yet their enduring memory was of highly educated people rendered destitute college graduates selling apples on street corners in Boston! My mother became a recycler and a mender, patching clothes, socking money away. This pandemic will likely make us a nation of habitual hand-washers and doorknob avoiders.

In the Great Depression, Americans like my parents saw the country fail and though it rose and became vibrant once more, they fully expected to witness another bust in their lifetime. Generally speaking, we have known prosperity in the United States since the end of World War II. But the same cannot be said for other countries, and this, of course, is something many travelers know, because travel often allows us glimpses of upheaval or political strife, epidemics or revolution. Uganda evolved after the curfew into a dictatorship, and then Idi Amin took over and governed sadistically.

But Id lived in the dictatorship and thuggery of the Malawi of Dr. Hastings Banda (Ngwazi the Conqueror), so Ugandas oppression was not a shock. And these experiences in Africa helped me deconstruct the gaudy dictatorship of Saparmurat Niyazov, who styled himself Tukmenbashi Great Head of the Turks when, years later, I traveled through Turkmenistan; the Mongolia of Jambyn Batmnkh, the Syria of Hafiz Assad, the muddy dispirited China of Maos chosen successor, Hua Guo Feng. As for plague, there have been recent outbreaks of bubonic plague in Madagascar, Congo, Mongolia and China, producing national moods of blame-shifting and paranoia, not much different from that of Albert Camuss The Plague.

Were told not to travel right now, and its probably good advice, though there are people who say that this ban on travel limits our freedom. But in fact, travel produces its own peculiar sorts of confinement.

The freedom that most travelers feel is often a delusion, for there is as much confinement in travel as liberation. This is not the case in the United States, where I have felt nothing but fresh air on road trips. It is possible to travel in the United States without making onward plans. But I cant think of any other country where you can get into a car and be certain at the end of the day of finding a place to sleep (though it might be scruffy) or something to eat (and it might be junk food). For my last book, I managed a road trip in Mexico but with hiccups (bowel-shattering meals, extortionate police, bed bugs). But the improvisational journey is very difficult elsewhere, even in Europe, and is next to impossible in Africa. It is only by careful planning that a traveler experiences a degree of freedom, but he or she will have to stick to the itinerary, nagged by instructions, which is a sort of confinement.

In fact, most travel is a reminder of boundaries and limits. For example, millions of travelers go to Bangkok or Los Cabos, but of them, a great number head for a posh hotel and rarely leave: The hotel is the destination, not the city. The same can be said for many other places, where the guest in the resort or spa essentially a gated and guarded palace luxuriates in splendid isolation.

The most enlightening trips Ive taken have been the riskiest, the most crisis-ridden, in countries gripped by turmoil, enlarging my vision, offering glimpses of the future elsewhere. We are living in just such a moment of risk; and it is global. This crisis makes me want to light out for the territory ahead of the rest. It would be a great shame if it were not somehow witnessed and documented.

Paul Therouxs latest book, On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey, was published in 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation.

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Paul Theroux Recalls a Fear-Filled Lockdown - The New York Times

New York City Is Empty, But Street Artists Are Still Working. Heres How Theyre Adapting Their Methods for Our Time – artnet News

Friday, March 27th, 2020

Like cities across the world, New York City has largely shut down, with the government ordering residents to practice social distance and cease all non-essential business. Butover the past few weeks, a handful of intrepid street artists still went out there, creating new works of art in public.

In times of grief or stress, I believe that these pieces are a way that people can visually share their frustrations, or use them to laugh at adversity, artist Adrian Wilsontold Artnet News in an email. Street art is like the news, fleeting and ephemeral. I hope to use the medium to give people a way to respond to a news event in a more creative, and even humorous, way.

But everything is different in these unprecedented times, even for street artists. Theres always an element of risk to unsanctioned street artbut normally that does not include potentially jeopardizing ones health through contact with contaminated surfaces or sick passersby.

I wore a mask and used a Citi bike to get around as much as possible, said Wilson, who has since left the city. I did ask a couple of people to use my phone to photograph me putting up the work, but nobody wanted to touch it in case it had virus on it. That was a new one. A guy shot images on his phone and emailed me instead.

A street art work by Adrian Wilson. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

After two weeks of leaving works referencing the coronavirus on discarded objects in her Brooklyn neighborhood,Sara Erenthal began to feel under the weather. Concerned that she had contracted COVID-19, she retreated to her apartment.

As soon as I realized I wasnt feeling well, I knew I would not be going out, she told Artnet News. Although Erenthal did not get tested, a call to her doctor suggested the diagnosis, even though she had been taking precautions.

I had very strict rules for myself, she said. If I needed to move anything for a photograph, I wouldput on gloves and I would sanitize and all that stuff.

A street art work by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

There were other risks as well. With fewer New Yorkers on the streets, Wilson, whose work includes illegal spray paint, was more concerned than ever about being spotted by the police. I stuck out like a sore thumb carrying a big stencil and street sign, he said.I have been arrested several times before, and I didnt want to catch coronavirus from a jail cell bench.

Both Wilson and Erenthal noticed a distinctly different mood across New York City as social distancing began being enforced. The streets started emptying, said Erenthal. I started wondering, should I still be doing this?

It was as if a big thunderstorm was coming. Nobody was taking a leisurely stroll or looking around them, Wilson added. Its a grim time.

A street art work by Adrian Wilson. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

Nevertheless, there were still those who found the time to appreciate art. In her walks through the Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood in Brooklyn, Erenthal found a building with many large objects in its trash areaoffering a perfect canvas for her work. She created new pieces there several times, drawing her signature stylized womans face with coronavirus-inspired captions on successive days.

A couple stopped to tell me that they really appreciated it and how much it was making their days, she said.

Some of Erenthals recent captions include: the art will get damaged if you try to sanitize me; help, Im trapped in a towerthat one was written inside her apartment windowand the street is our only museum right now. In an eerie bit of foreshadowing given her recent health issues, one reads I hope this isnt my last public art piece.

A work by Sara Erenthal in her apartment. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

Wilson also finds garbage piles to be sources of inspiration. I enjoy writing on trash because it is both legal and a challenge to come up with spontaneous ideas, he said. Two messages the artist scrawled on discarded mattresses read: remember when bedbugs were our biggest fear and one flu over the cuckoos nest.

He stenciled works reading spread no virushoping, of course, that the work would go viralacross the city, sometimes in collaboration with subway artist Jilly Ballistic. She suggested combining Wilsons slogan with her wheatpastes that incorporate historical images, often of World War I-era figures in gas masks.

A street work by Adrian Wilson. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

Another piece was an official street sign that Wilson bought online, altering it to read STAY IN, SANE and temporarily bolting it up around the city, until it was stolen. I felt it was important to do these pieces as a creative defiance against the impending doom, Wilson said.

Art is a really great tool for coping and healing, especially when were going throughdifficult times, said Erenthal, who says she is already on the mend and eager to get a clean bill of health and leave her apartment again.Theres something about the street that keeps me thriving, she said. I needed it for myself, but I think it is a gift for everyone.

See more street works below.

A work by Adrian Wilson, paired with work by Jilly Ballistic. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

Adrian Wilsons Spread No Virus slogan.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Adrian Wilson. Photo by Adrian Wilson.

A coronavirus-inspired street art piece by Sara Erenthal. Photo by Sara Erenthal.

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New York City Is Empty, But Street Artists Are Still Working. Heres How Theyre Adapting Their Methods for Our Time - artnet News

Welcome to the neighborhood(s) – Rochester City Newspaper

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

When we talk about "Rochester," we're not just talking about the city. Rochester, for all intents and purposes, is really Monroe County. Indeed, when traveling outside the region, most people who live in the city's suburbs tell anyone who asks they live in Rochester.

Monroe County is about as diverse a community as you'll find anywhere. Within a 20-minute drive in any direction, there is a mid-sized American city of 200,000 people, farmland, quaint villages, and shopping malls.

Bisected by the Genesee River flowing north and the Erie Canal running east and west, the county is a community of dozens of communities: 19 towns, nine villages, and, of course, the city of Rochester, whose neighborhoods have found ways to carve out their own personalities.

From the South Wedge to North Winton Village, the Flower City, as Rochester is known, is home to an assortment of neighborhoods, each one vehemently defended by their residents as the best place to call home.

The suburbs might look similar at first glance, but each has its own distinct identity that draws on their heritage, their location, and their infrastructure.

Each has its perks, from vibrant nightlife culture and shopping to easy access to parks and hiking trails. Here we offer a sampling of five city neighborhoods and five suburbs to give you a taste of what sets them apart.

Marked at its northern border by the crossing of the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge and the Genesee River to the east, Corn Hill is a quiet, family neighborhood right on the edge of the city's downtown.

The annual Corn Hill Arts Festival, which has been held annually for over 50 years, draws large crowds to the neighborhoods. The festival features over 100 artists, from woodworkers to photographers and everything in between. This year, it is scheduled to be held July 11-12.

Corn Hill is a pivotal hub of historic Rochester. On Clarissa Street, the Flying Squirrel Community Space, 285 Clarissa Street, serves as a hub for the city's community activism. The street is also home to the annual Clarissa Street Revival, an jazz festival slated for August 15. Clarissa is recognized as a Rochester jazz hub and cornerstone of the black community in Rochester through the mid-1900s. Mississippi Delta Blues legend Son House lived for a time off Clarissa Street at 61 Greig Street, now a historical landmark.

The Genesee Riverway Trail in Corn Hill also offers one of the best views of the city skyline, with the bridge archways set pristinely across downtown's towers.

The 19th Ward on the city's southwest side is one of the largest neighborhoods in Rochester. Now a rich blend of working class and college housing, the 19th Ward is a proud community boasting one of the longest running neighborhood groups in the nation, the 19th Ward Community Association, which formed in 1965 as a retaliation to "red-lining" housing policies.

Today, the 19th Ward is a veritable goldmine of some Rochester's best, and best-hidden, culinary hot spots. People's Choice Kitchen, 575 Brooks Avenue, offers up a unique blend of soul and Jamaican cuisine, El Latino Restaurant, 1020 Chili Avenue, serves some of the best Latin American food in the city, and Unkl Moe's BBQ, 493 West Avenue, is a can't-miss barbecue stop. Of course, no list of Rochester food is complete without Nick Tahou's Hots, 320 West Main Street, which sits at the northeastern tip of the 19th Ward and boasts the claim to the throne as the home of the original Garbage Plate.

On the neighborhood's southeastern tip is Genesee Valley Park, home to plenty of walking trails, baseball fields, and easy spots to drop a kayak into the Genesee River.

At the northeastern tip of Rochester sits the Culver-Winton neighborhood, a robust community packed to the brim with food, entertainment, and drink. Perhaps the cornerstone of today's Culver-Winton Neighborhood is Radio Social, 20 Carlson Road, a 42,000 square foot compound featuring two restaurantsthe upscale Middle-Eastern Ophira and the pizza and wings joint Shortwave a bar, bowling, arcade games, and much more.

But Radio Social is far from the end-all, be-all of Culver-Winton. Tryon City Tavern, 2300 East Main Street keeps a short, but highly-curated taplist, and is in competition with the nearby Captain Jim's Fish Market, 2329 East Main Street, for best fish fry in the city. On the strip of North Winton Road stretching from Merchants Road to University Avenue, you'll find a diverse collection of eateries and pubs, including upscale Mexican joint The Silver Iguana, 663 North Winton, new-American Lucky's, 628 North Winton, and Khong Thai Cuisine, 260 North Winton.

The Neighborhood of the Arts, or NOTA, holds the lofty distinction of being one of Rochester's hippest neighborhoods. Centered around the University of Rochester's sprawling Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue, NOTA is the epicenter of Rochester's arts community, and a perfect place to hop bars or catch a live band.

Three Heads Brewing, 186 Atlantic Avenue, is a must-stop for live music. Co-owner Geoff Dale lovingly calls the venue space, which covers almost all of the brewery's customer space, "The Living Room." Almost any night of the week, eager drinkers can catch live bluegrass, jam bands, reggae, rock, and funk from locals and traveling bands, usually on the cheap.

It's difficult to fit everything in NOTA into one succinct segment. For drinks, check out Sager Beer Works, 46 Sager Drive, Nine Maidens Brewing Co., 1344 University Avenue suite 140, Mullers Cider House, 1344 University Avenue, suite 180, or Living Roots Winery, 1255 University Avenue. For food and shopping, Village Gate, 275 North Goodman Street, is a must-stop. This mixed use compound houses everything from high-end eatery Lento to literary-themed cocktail bar Nox and The Gatehouse, home to wood-fired pizzas and one of Rochester's best burgers.

Until October, when the city of Rochester is set to cut the ribbon on the Roc City Skatepark, NOTA is also home to the only skatepark in Rochester, Breaking Free Skatepark, 1044 University Avenue, open to any and all wheeled sports.

We western New Yorkers love to pronounce things differently than anyone else in the English-speaking world. To wit, this northern beachside neighborhood is pronounced "shar-LOT," not "shar-LIT."

Charlotte is a park-heavy neighborhood built along the Lake Avenue strip leading to Lake Ontario. At Turning Point Park, find a 3.8 mile paved trail through the woods featuring a 3,572-foot boardwalk weaving through the Genesee River Turning Basin marsh. At the northern edge find the Ontario Beach Park, a 39-acre featuring plenty of sandy beaches.

But Charlotte is far more than just beaches and bogs. At the Pelican's Nest, 566 North River Street, catch plenty of lakefront views with fairly regular live bands. Windjammers, 4695 Lake Avenue, serves up some of the best chicken wings you'll find in Rochester. The Port of Rochester, 1000 North River Street, once home to the infamous Fast Ferry, now is home to sushi-fusion joint California Rollin II, Bistro Jetty at the Port, and Rochester classic burger joint Bill Gray's.

The nearby marina at the port is also among the most scenic spots to park a boat during the warmer months.

Nestled on the western edge of Monroe County about 20 miles west of Rochester, Brockport calls itself "The Victorian Village on the Erie Canal." But more than anything, Brockport is a college town.

Home to the State University of New York at Brockport, the village is brimming with youthful energy and shops ranging from restaurants and bars to an independent book store in Lift Bridge Book Shop, 45 Main St., and vintage movie theater in Brockport Strand Theater, 93 Main St. The village's pedestrian-friendly downtown includes several buildings that are on the state and federal registries of historic places.

Brockport prides itself on its public art, its nine public parks, and its welcome center, which in the summertime is staffed by volunteers who greet Erie Canal boaters and canal path cyclists. The village's website,, offers maps for walking tours.

The village borders the towns of Sweden and Clarkson and has about 8,300 inhabitants, roughly the same number of people that attend SUNY Brockport, making for the ultimate "town-and-gown" atmosphere.

This quaint village on the Erie Canal about a 15-minute drive east of Rochester is said to have taken its name in the 19th century from a canal traveler who was overheard in a local tavern saying of the place, "This is a fair port."

The next day, local legend has it, the same man stormed out of his hotel claiming it was infested with bed bugs and vowing never to return. But the name stuck.

Fairport sits smack in the middle of the town of Perinton, a suburb of roughly 47,000 inhabitants known for its indoor and outdoor recreation. Three separate interconnected foot paths and hiking trails wind through the town, earning Perinton the distinction of being named a top "Trail Town" in the country by the American Hiking Society and the National Park Service.

But the village, with its bustling shops and restaurants that draw on its heritage as an Erie Canal boomtown, is the beating heart of the town. Lift Bridge Lane alone boasts the popular dueling Irish pubs, Mulconry's and Donnelly's, and the best place in the village to see live bands, The B-Side.

The village's population of about 5,300 swells in the summer, when boaters traveling the canal moor their vessels for a nominal fee in the commercial district of Packett's Landing.

Thousands of people visit every year for the village's "Canal Days" festival, which features live music and a panoply of food and retail vendors on streets shut down to traffic. This year, the festival is slated for Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7.

The celebration will have a different feel this year. The village's iconic lift bridge, which connects the vital north-south arterial of Main Street (Route 250) in and out of town is shut down for repairs until the fall of 2020.

Founded in 1827, Pittsford is the oldest of Monroe County's villages. It originally served as the government center of Northfield, the sprawling town that was eventually divided into most of the county's east side towns. It developed as a center of commerce, thanks to its position on two major roads that ran between the mills in what was then Rochesterville and the outlying farms.

But the Erie Canal really drove the village's growth and prosperity. Nearby farmers gained access to new markets and downtown merchants thrived amidst the commercial traffic.

Pittsford is a preservation-minded community with a population of more than 1,300. Rigorous local laws have helped ensure that the houses along its quiet residential streets maintain their historical characteristics. Likewise, the village's compact, walkable downtown is lined with well-preserved buildings dating to the mid to late 1800s.

Many canal-era mills and warehouses remain along Schoen Place, though they've been converted into shops, restaurants, and offices. Even an old grain silo was repurposed for modern commercial use.

The Schoen Place district has become a popular attraction, where residents and visitors shop, eat, and stroll along the canal.

The adjacent Pittsford Farms Dairy also attracts people to the village. It processes raw milk from local farmers into several products, including ice cream, which plenty of people rave about. The dairy has a retail store and a bakery.

Like the other "port" villages in Monroe County Brockport and Fairport Spencerport resides on the Erie Canal and draws much of its culture from the recreational waterway. Towpath Park, for instance, offers a scenic canalside walkway.

Historic homes dot the village, with several featuring Victorian or Federal-style architecture on West Avenue, a main arterial on the south side of the village. Union Street, in primary thoroughfare, is lined with boutiques and small shops.

Attractions outside the village include Springdale Farm, a 200-acre working farm and agricultural education facility owned by Monroe County and operated by Heritage Christian Services off Colby Street in the town of Ogden that is open to the public. The farm says it entertains 40,000 visitors a year.

Spencerport sits entirely within the borders of Ogden, a farming community about a 15-minute drive west of downtown Rochester. The village has roughly 3,600 residents in the wider town of about 20,000 people.

Henrietta is one of Monroe County's major commercial centers. The prevailing view is that it's a town full of big box retail, shopping plazas, and a mall. But that says more about why people go to Henrietta than it does the town itself.

There's more to Henrietta than the Jefferson Road - Hylan Drive - West Henrietta Road strip. The town shifted from an agricultural community to a residential community after World War II, as did many suburbs across the U.S. In 2017, residential properties made up roughly 31 percent of the town's 20,720 acres, according to a county land use report from that year. Approximately 43,600 people live in the town.

Agricultural land makes up around 13 percent of the town's acreage and vacant land accounts for another 18 percent.

The town is also home to the Rochester Institute of Technology and several high tech companies, including Rochester Precision Optics and Idex Health & Science, both of which are photonics firms; Eagleview, which is an aerial imaging and geographic information services company; and Innovative Solutions, an information technology and applications services company located in the new Riverwood Tech Campus.

Amazon recently built a distribution center in Henrietta and the University of Rochester is currently building a new orthopaedics campus at Marketplace Mall. The medical facility's footprint will include the former Sears store.

Henrietta has the second lowest town tax rate in the county. The town with the lowest rate, Riga, doesn't have town taxes because of payments it receives for being the county landfill's host community.

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Welcome to the neighborhood(s) - Rochester City Newspaper

How to Stop Rats from Taking Over a City – The National Interest

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

It took only a few seconds to spot one. Then another. As I walked into the small park around noon, dozens of rats could be seen scurrying in every direction. They dashed in and out of burrows scattered around the planting beds. They scampered between the safety of shrub cover and the trash bins containing a smorgasbord for them to feed on. They leaped on and off the unoccupied benches encircling the park. The rats of Churchill Square had returned.

I study urban rats, but this tiny park in New York City at the intersection of Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue in the Greenwich Village section of lower Manhattan has been a side curiosity of mine. The first time I visited the square, I was just looking for a place to sit for a few minutes during a family excursion.

But an urban ecologist is never really off the clock in the city. I had never seen so many rats in such a small area. Rats are generally nocturnal, so the high activity during daylight probably meant the infestation was severe, which increases the risk of disease transmission to people, damages urban infrastructure and even takes a toll on the mental health of residents. The health, economic and social impacts of rat infestation can be significant.

Public enemy number one

While rats Rattus norvegicus, to be specific in New York City are not unfamiliar to residents, the Churchill Square rats had become too comfortable. Too established. Too numerous. The following year, rodent bait stations appeared around the park. The familiar black boxes are filled with edible bait containing rodent-killing compounds rodenticides that technicians can replace easily on a set schedule. It seemed to work remarkably well; there wasnt a rat to be seen in Churchill Square during my visits that year.

Yet rats are superbly adapted to forage efficiently, breed often and produce enough progeny to repopulate quickly. So despite the millions of dollars spent annually to combat rats, their numbers appear to be increasing in cities around the world. Most rat populations also rebound quickly after a control campaign ends a phenomenon known as the boomerang effect. Churchill Square is an example of this effect; when the rodenticide stations were removed, the rats returned.

Theyre back, but theyre different

While the return of the rats is nearly assured, my colleagues and I recently found that the repopulating rats are fundamentally different than the rats present before lethal control was carried out.

For example, an intensive eradication campaign in 2015 in parts of Salvador, Brazil succeeded in cutting the rat population in half, but also led to a 90% reduction in the genetic variation contained within those populations. This included the loss of many of their rarest gene variants. A broad variety of genetic information is thought to be essential for organisms to respond to and remain viable in changing environments. In addition, because the survivors were more closely related to each other, there was also a greater risk of inbreeding among the remaining rats. All of these impacts observed in the Salvador rats constitute what scientists call a genetic bottleneck and a particularly severe one by any standard.

Genetic bottlenecks are almost always considered in the context of vulnerable populations of conservation concern, not a notorious pest. And the overarching concern is usually long-term survival of the imperiled population. But, pest species like rats, mice, roaches and bed bugs are subject to repeated intentional attempts to deplete their populations through lethal control.

The problem is that there is rarely coordination between pest management staff working with cities or property owners, often with short timelines and insufficient budgets, and scientists interested in tracking the long-term viability of urban pest species.

As the environmental health coordinator for the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, Georgianna Silveira is on the front line of efforts to integrate pest management and policy decisions with a scientific perspective on long-term trends. Most of these partners are not thinking in the long-term for rat populations, Silveira notes. In a practical sense, its about putting out fires with quick solutions, often because there is too little communication among residents, city agencies, pest management professionals and scientists about sustained goals.

Survival of the fittest super rats

For the city rats that survive lethal control, there are two long-term outcomes that our research team is investigating now. The first, and most concerning, is tied closely to the idea of survival of the fittest.

A successful rat control campaign removes many, maybe even most, individuals from the population. The survivors are likely to have certain traits that make them more fit able to avoid the onslaught of exposure to rodenticides, snap traps and other sources of mortality. These survivors then produce more baby rats, which inherit the same helpful traits.

If only the fittest rats make it through the control campaign, the survivors may be even better adapted to take advantage of the high-resource minefield of modern cities, leaving a new population of super rats to breed and repopulate. In fact, scientists have identified specific versions of some genes that render common rodenticides ineffective. These beneficial gene variants have been observed in some natural populations of rats regularly exposed to these poisons.

or evolving into sickly rats

On the other hand, biologists know that there can be severe negative consequences for populations that lack genetic variation, similar to the risks of inbreeding in people.

Our data from Salvador suggests that rats can lose most of their genetic variation very quickly during a lethal control campaign. This variation is the key by which species can respond to changing environments through natural selection. And city environments can change rapidly.

So the second long-term outcome for rats subjected to repeated control programs could be a gradual reduction in survival, reproduction and other traits related to evolutionary fitness. This was observed in crows, where inbreeding was associated with lower survival and weaker immune function. Progressively weaker, more sickly rats is certainly the preferred scenario when dealing with persistent rat infestation.

So what will happen to the rats of Churchill Square, Salvador and other places where they are frequently targeted for lethal control? To understand if city rats are evolving toward the super or sickly set of traits, our research team is studying populations before and after rat control campaigns to determine how survival, reproduction and other beneficial traits change during intense control campaigns.

Jonathan Richardson weighs a rat as part of a study in New York City. Jonathan Richardson, CC BY-SA

But it is immensely challenging to study these aspects of rat biology in wild populations, especially in urban environments. Genetic insights may provide the most practical way to assess the impacts of control efforts, including a way to measure these impacts in a standardized way for cities around the world. Regardless, we know that urban rat control needs to progress beyond just trying to poison them.

Comprehensive rodent control will need to focus on long-term and sustainable goals, reducing populations to tolerable numbers using varied tools like rodenticide, dry ice and even applying contraceptives to reduce fertility. And of course the low-tech yet most effective approach of reducing trash availability and installation of rodent-proof garbage cans must be included. Meanwhile, research will shed light onto what effect all of this money and effort is having on urban pests is it eroding their viability, or turning the gears of evolution to create unintended super organisms?

[ Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversations newsletter. ]

Jonathan Richardson, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Richmond

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image: Reuters

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How to Stop Rats from Taking Over a City - The National Interest

Bed Bugs Still Love NYC, Just Not As Much As They Used To …

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

NEW YORK, NY Bed bugs aren't as rampant in New York City as they used to be. The Big Apple fell to No. 8 from No. 4 on Orkin's list of the top 50 bed bug-infested cities in the U.S., the pest control company said Monday.

Orkin's ranking is based on the number of bed bug treatments ordered in each metropolitan area from Dec. 1, 2016 through Nov. 30, 2017.

While New York fell four spots out of the top five, Baltimore claimed the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row. Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio rounded out the top five.

New York City still took the top spot among other metropolitan areas in the state. Buffalo fell two places to No. 20, Syracuse jumped seven spots to No. 33 and the Albany area ranked for the first time ever at No. 50.

Bed bugs are most prevalent in apartments and condominiums, which New York City has plenty of. Some 95 percent of pest control workers have encountered the bugs in apartments, compared with 93 percent seeing them in single-family homes and 75 percent finding bugs in hotels or motels, according to a 2015 PestWorld survey.

"The number of bed bug infestations in the United States is still rising," Tim Husen, an Orkin entomologist, said in a news release. "They continue to invade our homes and businesses on a regular basis because they are not seasonal pests, and only need blood to survive."

Orkin recommends decreasing clutter around your house and checking for bed bugs regularly, as they're always on the move.

Here's the complete list of the top 50 cities that bed bugs call home, according to Orkin.

1. Baltimore

2. Washington, D.C.

3. Chicago

4. Los Angeles (+2)

5. Columbus, Ohio

6. Cincinnati (+2)

7. Detroit

8. New York (-4)

9. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose

10. Dallas-Fort Worth (+5)

11. Indianapolis

12. Philadelphia

13. Atlanta (+3)

14. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-1)

15. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (-3)

16. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (-5)

17. Houston

18. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va. (+2)

19. Charlotte, N.C. (-3)

20. Buffalo, N.Y. (-2)

21. Knoxville, Tenn.

22. Nashville, Tenn. (+1)

23. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (+4)

24. Pittsburgh

25. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.

26. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (+4)

27. Phoenix (-1)

28. Denver (-6)

29. Milwaukee

30. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+1)

31. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (+5)

32. Boston (-4)

33. Syracuse, N.Y. (+7)

34. Dayton, Ohio (-2)

35. St. Louis (+2)

36. Seattle (-2)

37. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (+9)

38. Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, M.I. (new to list)

39. Omaha, N.E. (-6)

40. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (-2)

41. San Diego (new to list)

42. Lexington, Ky. (+1)

43. Honolulu, Hawaii (+5)

44. Louisville, Ky. (-3)

45. Las Vegas (+4)

46. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C. (-4)

47. New Orleans (new to list)

48. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (-9)

49. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (-14)

50. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (new to list)

(Lead image: Dead bed bugs are seen on a paper towel in 2009. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Bed Bugs Still Love NYC, Just Not As Much As They Used To ...

Zdenka’s story of WWII survival in Croatia and Italy: ‘Others had it worse’ – The Jewish News of Northern California

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

Part of anongoing serieson Holocaust survivors and partisans in Northern California

Zdenka Ruchwarger Levy, a Holocaust survivor born in Zagreb, Croatia, swore she would never eat minestrone soup again not after it was served three times a day when she was in an Italian prison during World War II.

Now 95, Levy is as tough as nails and as strong-willed as they come. She says she eventually got over her aversion to minestrone soup.

I eat it, she said. Im hungry. So I try not to think about it.

Levy has a neat bob of light brown hair and is very precise with her words. A resident of the Moldaw Residences in Palo Alto, she says her family experienced a traumatic life as Jews in Europe during the 1940s. But her story is also one of extraordinary luck.

Born in 1925, Levy said her life in Zagreb was pleasant growing up. She remembers skiing in the nearby mountains in the winters and going to the beach in the summers. Her father, Filip Baum, was an industrialist who sold metal furniture to hospitals. Her mother, Frida, sold her fathers items in a store. Levys brother, Fredi, worked in her fathers factory.

In a manuscript Levy wrote detailing her life during the Holocaust, theres a marked transition from this peaceful existence.

Suddenly, Levy wrote, on the morning of April 6, 1941, this secure, pleasant, comfortable life comes to a crushing end.

That was the day the Axis powers, led by Nazi Germany, invaded what was then Yugoslavia. Levy remembers bombs falling on her city and German soldiers goose-stepping down a road. Before the invasion, we thought our country would be spared, she said.

Everything just came to an end.

Levy remembers being issued a yellow star that she had to wear at all times in public. Friends of hers would avoid her on the street.

Just wearing the Star of David was humiliation, Levy recalled. Total humiliation. You realized you were a marked individual. Soon, all Jews had to give up their property and jobs.

One day, Levy and her family were ordered by Croatian soldiers to gather at a fairgrounds, along with many other Jews. She remembers being ordered to clean toilets and was fed boiled potatoes and a piece of bread for meals. At night, she says, the Croatian soldiers took away many of the women to assault them. In the morning, they returned disheveled but didnt say anything.

Then a stroke of luck came to Levys family. The employees at her fathers factory signed a petition to release them. They were free to go. (Levy said she never again saw any of the other Jews from the fairgrounds.)

Levys family, and her aunt Charlotta, were able to return home for a few weeks. But then her father was suddenly taken to Jasenovac, a concentration camp known to be among the most brutal in Europe.

After the German invasion of Yugoslavia, a fascist and virulently anti-Semitic government called the Ustase took the countrys reins, and also operated Jasenovac. In total, between 12,000 and 20,000 Jews were murdered there.

For three months, Levy did not know where her father was. Those are difficult memories, Levy said. Very painful. This was disturbing is not the right word. It was devastating, really.

One day, Levys 50-year-old father returned emaciated and looking 30 years older than his age. He must have lost 80 pounds, Levy wrote in her manuscript.

But there also was a moment of hope: To think how incredible, how improbable it is to have the whole family together once again, Levy wrote. What are the odds of this happening?

In 1942, the family decided it was time to get out of Croatia. However, because of differing travel documents, Levy and her brother were split off from their parents. The two hid for several weeks in a peasant village before being smuggled into Italy, where Jews werent as harshly persecuted. However, Italian authorities were searching for refugees, and Levy and her brother were caught and imprisoned.

For 12 days, Levy was in a womens prison, along with wives of Yugoslav partisan fighters. They slept on straw mattresses infested with bed bugs and she ate the soon-to-be-despised minestrone soup.

After her release, her family eventually was reunited, but then came another hurdle. They were immediately shipped to an Italian concentration camp.

Just wearing the Star of David was humiliation. You realized you were a marked individual.

While Mussolini enforced anti-Semitic laws during wartime, and even confiscated Jewish property, the government did not have the same genocidal aspirations as the Germans. Levys family found themselves at the Ferramonti internment camp, where other prisoners assured them that theyd be treated humanely. Levy described the place, which held more than 3,000 people, as a shelter.

It wasnt all easy, though. In the 18 months Levy was there, she contracted malaria and had health issues with her appendix. And in August 1943, Allied planes began bombing the camp, killing four prisoners at one point.

We were waiting for the war to end, Levy said.

In September, the camp was liberated by British forces. It was absolutely wonderful, Levy said. I can picture them today. All these young soldiers in uniforms. Coming out with knapsacks full of food and distributing Spam and chocolates and other things. We were just elated.

There was something else to celebrate, too.

At Ferramonti, Levy had met Abraham Ruchwarger, a fellow prisoner. The two got married in April 1944. At the time, both were working at an Allied hospital, where Levy was trained as a nursing assistant.

Meanwhile in the United States, the War Refugee Board successfully convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to take in 1,000 refugees from the Italian region, and the Levys were chosen among thousands of applicants. (While this action may seem hospitable, U.S. officials also chose to ignore many opportunities to save Holocaust victims.)

The family wound up in upstate New York at Fort Ontario, an emergency refugee shelter in Oswego also known as Safe Haven (and was the first and only U.S. refugee center during World War II). The Levys were there for 18 months, until the U.S. government formally allowed the entire lot of refugees to become citizens.

While her parents and brother went to New York, Levy and her husband went to Newark, New Jersey, and then to Washington, D.C., living there until Abraham died of a heart attack in 1968.

Levy, who had two children by then, sold her house in D.C. and remarried. In 1982, she and her new husband, David, who also had been a refugee at Fort Ontario, moved to San Mateo, where they lived for 32 years until David died of a heart attack.

Shortly before his death, David convinced his wife that she should move to the Moldaw Residences, where she currently resides. My new family is Moldaw, she said.

I know many people who went through much worse than I did, she said. But I dont know whether it was fate or destiny. I can never decide what caused this, for my family to be able to survive.

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Zdenka's story of WWII survival in Croatia and Italy: 'Others had it worse' - The Jewish News of Northern California

Coronavirus live updates: fifth death confirmed in UK, as head of New York’s airports tests positive – The Guardian

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Chinese authorities reportedly scrambled to move people out of quarantine hotels, which need safety inspections after the deaths of at least 10 people in a collapsed hotel.

Joanna Davison, an English teacher, and her partner were suddenly placed in enforced isolation in Shenzhen after a ferry trip about 10 days ago. On Thursday, she told the Guardian she endured a terrifying experience as five people in hazmat suits came to test them at her home before they were whisked to quarantine.

But their period in isolation has taken a new twist after a transfer to another hotel. We were sitting on the bed and noticed orange speccy marks, she said.

We soon realised it was bed bugs and we were moved into the room next door. But the moment we came into the second room we lifted a corner of the sheet and a live bed bug ran across the sheet, then we found another one under the pillow.

They were moved to a third room, but also found blood marks resembling those created by bed bugs. Clearly the whole hotel is infested with bed bugs, she said.

The couple have four days remaining in quarantine at Yinglun hotel in Shenzhen, but they dont want to risk sleeping in the bed.

Weve been sitting on the table and window sill, avoiding fabrics, asking for help because there is nothing else we can do, Davison said.

Its hard to know who to be most frustrated with. Everybody here is just doing their job. They can clearly see this is ridiculous but they cant offer us a solution.

Our school is saying they could deliver us some pesticide or send a mattress. Its really sweet but is this what it has come to? Its a farce.

At the previous hotel, she had been passing the days practising yoga, reading and watching the sitcom Parks and Recreation, but she has spent her time at the new lodgings demanding another room while taking videos of the mess and lice.

The hotel has offered the couple a final deal to remove the pillowcases and sheet, but cannot provide another double mattress. It has threatened to separate the couple into different rooms if they do not accept. I think its just a threat, Davison said. Be quiet or well separate you.

Twenty-three people remain missing after the five-storey hotel in Quanzhou, about seven hours from Shenzhen in southern China, collapsed on Saturday.

According to Davison, this led to an assessment of all other quarantine hotels amid fears of others falling down. Ours needed a full inspection, she said. Id questioned whether smoke alarms were working as there were guards smoking beneath the sensors.

I was also told the electricity was extremely unable, which is why we could not have a fridge in our room. The whole building is being inspected today after it was abruptly emptied.

Health authorities in Guangdong province have fiercely guarded against imported cases of coronavirus, after a 35-year-old man from Shenzhen who had been working in Bristol tested positive this month after flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong.

It was unclear whether he became infected in the UK, but Chinese authorities said two of the patients colleagues in Britain had reported coughs and fever.

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Coronavirus live updates: fifth death confirmed in UK, as head of New York's airports tests positive - The Guardian

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