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COVID-2020 pt1
In early 2020, my attention was on Wuhan, China as news of a new virus began circulating. I live in Madison, Wisconsin which is the capital of the state and also has one of the premier medical universities in the country. It’s also home to numerous students and faculty who had just returned from China as the spring semester was about to begin. By the end of January, we had our first case in the city. In the months that followed and as states went into lockdowns, Madison stayed relatively safe until recently. The work I present here comes from my own reflections and responses to what I’ve witnessed and to the news and stories told from across the U.S. and Europe. In the spring, as infections forced all major meat packing plants in the states to shut down, there were fears of famine affecting the U.S. by late summer. Because of this I risked a trip with a friend who hauls cattle for a living. We made the long trek from South Dakota with a small number of dairy cows to perhaps the only open slaughterhouse in the country at the time, a small dilapidated shack somewhere in the mountains of southeastern Tennessee. Just recently, this friend – the truck driver, recovered from a serious case of COVID-19 with pneumonia. In the greater body of this work I aim to address the inequalities many face both in daily life and in the fight against this virus, the tensions of the U.S. election, and the feelings of loneliness, isolation, loss, confusion and worry for the future.