A View from A Closed and Deadly Quiet Boston
April 29, 2020
Oldest Irish American Newspaper in USA, Established in 1928
Attorney John Foley is sheltering in place at home, but still working as best he can from there.
By John Philip Foley
Boston — Like most places, Boston is closed. With the exception of cars delivering take-out food, the streets are deserted. The only activity is at supermarkets and pharmacies where the shoppers are wearing face masks and gloves as they maneuver one-way aisles only to find the toilet paper shelves mostly empty.
Buses and trains are operating on a reduced schedule and ridership are down by about 90%. Logan Airport, usually a beehive of activity, is silent.
We are all in front of the television watching dual press conferences between President Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. One is full of false bravado, the other common sense that in time will be deemed wisdom.
We hear President Trump using adjectives like “fantastic, wonderful and perfect” as he encourages Americans to get back to work while a neighbor complains about the lack of basic medical supplies at the nursing home where she works.
And it’s in those nursing homes where the real tragedy is taking place. As in Ireland, the number of nursing home deaths continues to rise, and what makes it even worse is that these people are dying alone.
It’s not so bad being tucked away at home until you hear the morning news and realize another hundred people who live around you died last night and the obituary section in the Boston Globe is now larger than the sports section.
As kids, we joked about our Irish-born grandparents reading the “Irish sports page” and now it’s us looking at those same pages to see if we knew anyone who died.
Some of us are lucky to be able to work from home, but nothing is really getting done.
As an immigration lawyer, I tell clients all interviews and oath ceremonies have been canceled and will not be re-scheduled anytime soon.
Then-President Trump tweets and my phone explodes as clients call, email, and text in fear. Trump is using a pandemic as a re-election tool while he is scaring the hell out of innocent people with a presidential order that will not make anyone safer.
As the days merge together and the death toll rises, we seek comfort and happiness from any source. We were delighted to share in the recovery of Belfast lawyer Niall Murphy. The video of Niall giving the thumbs up as he was wheeled out of the ICU filled us with hope.
This virus has also exposed how alike we are as humans. It has exposed that most of our daily squabbles and fights are over issues that don’t really matter. If and when this is over, I envision an Ireland more focused on building a better, safer future than refighting old struggles.
Now go wash your hands!