Museum of America in the Pandemic Year, 2020

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Wednesday, April 22-Earth Day

-Apr 21: Republicans and Democrats reach a deal on another coronavirus relief package, totaling $484 billion. A California autopsy finds 1st known U.S. coronavirus death was Feb. 6. Hundreds of Amazon and Target workers start a nationwide wave of sickouts to call attention to what they described as inadequate efforts to protect employees. The Senate Intelligence Committee releases a bipartisan report confirming that Russia interfered in the 2016 election aiming to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

-Apr 22: Dr. Rick Bright, the infectious disease expert who led the effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine, leaves his position as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Bright says he was dismissed because he opposed efforts to back an unproven coronavirus treatment, hydroxychloroquine,  pushed by President Trump. Polls show Americans overwhelmingly support leaving stay-at-home orders in place. Reportedly out of frustration with Sec. Azar’s lack of agency coordination, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council convenes his own meetings with HHS agency leaders. In a leaked phone recording the same week, Stephen Miller, a senior advisor to the President and key architect of President Trump’s immigration platform, tells conservative allies that, “the most important thing is to turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor.” *

From the Cutting Room Floor...

I witness a wild pig in the park today. My little dog Yue, ever the protector, barks feverishly for a few seconds, pauses, and runs in the other direction. It feels like a mixed signal, given that today is Earth Day. On the one hand, it is wonderful to see wildlife in the park. Thanks to the pandemic, car and airplane traffic have nearly ceased. Water and air pollution has shrunk dramatically.[1] Residents of Jalandhar, India, can see the snow-capped Himalayas from their homes for the first time in decades. Noise pollution, too, is down, appreciated by whales and birds.[2]

But that pig also stands as a warning. Feral pigs are a symbol of an environment that is out of balance as they spread through spaces, killing vegetation and making it hard for local wildlife to survive. We are still facing an environmental crisis.[3] Massive animal die-offs are still occurring, like the koalas in Australia’s awful fires that happened last January.[4]

I follow my dog’s advice and walk in the other direction, trying not to think about the metaphorical significance of my retreat.



[1] Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, “Traffic and Pollution Plummet as U.S. Cities Shut Down for Coronavirus,” The New York Times, March 22, 2020, sec. Climate,

[2] Kathleen Schuster, “Coronavirus Lockdown Gives Animals Rare Break from Noise Pollution | DW | 16.04.2020,” Deutsche Welle, April 16, 2020, Helen Briggs, “How the Pandemic Is Putting the Spotlight on Wildlife Trade,” BBC News, April 6, 2020, sec. Science & Environment,


[4] Emmanuel Felton, “The Coronavirus Meme About ‘Nature Is Healing’ Is So Damn Funny,” BuzzFeed News, April 7, 2020, Martha Henriques, “Has Coronavirus Helped the Environment?,” April 22, 2020,

Read more
CNN. Why Trump Is Encouraging the Coronavirus Lockdown Protests, 2020.
Breitbart News. PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor to Trump: Do You Think People Got Sick Because You Were ‘Downplaying’ Virus?, 2020.

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Barber, Gregory. “New Covid-19 Antibody Study Results Are In. Are They Right?” Wired, April 21, 2020.
Beam, Adam. “2 Died with Coronavirus Weeks before 1st U.S. Virus Death.” PBS NewsHour, April 22, 2020.
Cerullo, Megan. “Up to 90% of Minority and Women Owners Shut out of Paycheck Protection Program, Experts Fear,” April 22, 2020.
Chen, Jarvis T., and Nancy Krieger. “Revealing the Unequal Burden of COVID-19 by Income, Race/Ethnicity, and Household Crowding: US County vs. ZIP Code Analyses.” Working Paper. HCPDS Working Paper. Harvard University Center for Population and Development Studies, April 21, 2020.
Felton, Emmanuel. “The Coronavirus Meme About ‘Nature Is Healing’ Is So Damn Funny.” BuzzFeed News, April 7, 2020.
Gruber-Miller, Stephen. “This Iowa Family Is behind the ‘Reopen’ Protests Popping up across the Country.” Des Moines Register, April 22, 2020.
Kovensky, Josh. “The Long Strange Trip Of One Shipment Of Millions Of KN95 Masks.” Talking Points Memo, April 21, 2020.
Li, Weihua, and Beth Schwartzapfel. “Is Domestic Violence Rising During the Coronavirus Shutdown? Here’s What the Data Shows.” The Marshall Project, April 22, 2020.
Mahbubani, Rhea. “Nurses Are Protesting ‘grossly Inadequate and Negligent’ PPE and Coronavirus Testing While Filing Lawsuits against State Officials and Hospitals.” Business Insider, April 21, 2020.
Martina, Michael, Jarrett Renshaw, and Tim Reid. “How Trump Allies Have Organized and Promoted Anti-Lockdown Protests.” Reuters, April 22, 2020.
Post Opinions Staff. “‘I’m Existing, Not Living’: How Readers Are Coping with Jobs and Quarantine during the Pandemic.” The Washington Post, April 21, 2020.
Richwine, Lisa, and Akanksha Rana. “Netflix Doubles Expected Signups but Warns Coronavirus Boost May Fade.” Reuters, April 22, 2020.
Roston, Aram, and Marisa Taylor. “Special Report: Former Labradoodle Breeder Was Tapped to Lead U.S. Pandemic Task Force.” Reuters, April 22, 2020.
Schuster, Kathleen. “Coronavirus Lockdown Gives Animals Rare Break from Noise Pollution | DW | 16.04.2020.” Deutsche Welle, April 16, 2020.
Severns, Maggie. “The Koch Network, Avatar of the Tea Party, Rejects Shutdown Protests – POLITICO,” April 22, 2020.
Sinclair, Brendan. “March US Game Sales Jump 35% Says NPD.”, April 21, 2020.
Spectrum News Staff. “Astroturfing: A Look Into Protests During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” April 22, 2020.–a-look-into-protests-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic.
Stone, Madeleine. “Carbon Emissions Are Falling Sharply Due to Coronavirus. But Not for Long.” National Geographic, April 3, 2020.
Briggs, Helen. “How the Pandemic Is Putting the Spotlight on Wildlife Trade.” BBC News, April 6, 2020, sec. Science & Environment.
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* Timeline summaries at the top of the page come from a variety of sources:, including The American Journal of Managed Care COVID-19 Timeline (, the Just Security Group at the NYU School of Law (, the “10 Things,” daily entries from The Week (, as well as a variety of newspapers and television programs.