May 31, 2021

John Mosbaugh
6 min readMay 24, 2022


Today I drove out three times and got us doughnuts, supplies and a solar flamingo.. and pizza. Oakland is re-merging and it’s wonderful to see.

A year ago we were pretty much sheltering in place and every time I went out I saw that we were living in a dystopian grim reality because people were dying in Oakland from the virus.

April was when NYC was the epicenter of deaths. Washington State had their outbreak. California shut down. Every intelligent person I know took precautions and the rest became my reality show of the year. One lost her father to COVID-19 unfortunately. Others just caught it and can look forward to the COVID 19 version of shingles. And some will either morph into some form of the Marin mothers against measles shots infection parties or will just avoid dealing with it all together because they lucked out by never being exposed. You’re welcome.

Denialism mixed with the politics of the former guy hit hard and last May we were starting to see mass gathering days produce spikes three weeks out so May was the Easter death spike with Memorial day being the next month out. There was the Sturgis gathering that infected the midwest after that. We watched each outbreak. Hubris always led to deaths.

The California Bay Area shut down to stop the spread and there were lines outside at stores, supply shortages, people wearing masks everywhere, yea… and it was too much for some people to fathom. That was only a year ago, and people who had to work for a living were dying. I remember my friends losing it after the jackass in chief “we’ll be open for Easter” BS and that spring death spike. Last Memorial Day we learned to watch the infection spikes after large gatherings and the Ozark pool parties. Ugh, I suspected that the fall would be bad. That’s when we started seeing deaths in the hundreds of thousands. Because science.

Just a year ago.

We were figuring out Zoom. Seeing our friends and family virtually. Baseball wouldn’t come back until July. This was before the Denialists had figured our how to profit off the fear, so it all felt kind of in it together. People were freaking out about supply shortages of toilet paper and other shit and our government had dropped the ball because we had an incompetent blowhard in chief. Grim days. We were thinking.. the end of America. We were considering how we made California our own country. Don’t forget that time.

I remember driving up High St and seeing an ambulance slowly backing out of the parking lot with lights on but in no hurry. 30 people died when COVID-19 tore through that place. But last May deaths were only 1000 a day in the US, way less than the peak in the fall that would come just like it came in 1919.

There was no vaccination in 1918–1919 to stop that pandemic. The virus finally burned through its hosts at around 700 thousand dead in the US, millions worldwide, with a much smaller population because that’s what viruses do.

We are fortunate to have vaccinations in the USA right now and most people are getting them. California is doing really great and as a result our cases and deaths have plummeted. Again, living in a city where you see people dying affects how you react to a virus. I love not thinking I might die if I get infected and knowing the case load has dropped precipitously because of the vax in the Bay Area.

I love seeing unmasked people again, walking around, putting the mask on to go into places even though I know I probably don’t need it but its good being adult and civilized just in case someone in there hasn’t gotten the jab yet. I love seeing my friends emerging from the COVID 19 pandemic reality. That last year was too much for so many people who found an opportunistic reality to find an audience of like minded terrified anti-science “rebels” they could sell their ideology and herbal supplements to.

We’re re-emerging all over the USA. Some states never took it seriously, but large cities had to. I saw a baseball game last weekend and went camping with family the weekend before. Driving around the East Bay seeing people out and about is a wonderful thing. Friends on trips finally, vaxxed and done with the virus because science. Facebook today was really fun seeing my friends out and about. We’re having probably our last pod only BBQ tomorrow, Memorial Day, and after that, let’s party.

I was reading this morning and someone wrote that we’re at a point where there’s a fire and the embers hit the ground, but now vaccinations have created a light rain that’s making it so those embers don’t catch. Sparks hitting a wet ground instead of hitting during last May’s zero humidity windstorm. Less Fuel. We’re the fuel.

Some people have decided to keep being hosts because denial is easier than coming to terms with the concept that nature can be brutal, but technology can help us survive as a species. Conspiracy theories help people deal with that reality. Somehow humans must be behind it all. Nature can’t be so random and dangerous. That’s far too much to grasp for those folks.

They are wonderful tinder for things like authoritarianism and the end of our experiments with democracy. They’re afraid. They’re rebels. They’re popular in the same crowd that malfunctioned when the concept of a pandemic first entered our reality. Bless their hearts because some of them are sincere but they’re afraid and I wonder how or if they’ll ever come to terms with all that frantic fear when this is behind us.

Hopefully they’re a minority enough to not host a large enough COVID 19 infection spike to produce a new variant.

We’ll see continuing viral outbreaks going forward in vax hesitant communities but it feels like most of us have gotten past the worst of this. If anything positive came out of this experience, I’m thinking it was how resilient we are, how we can adapt and get through something as terrifying as a fucking pandemic, and maybe we realized just how much we take for granted. We are that generation that went through this, like generations before us have. Let the roaring 20s begin.

Jason Mitchell
Looking forward to seeing you guys soon. ❤

Hugh D’Andrade
Beautifully put! Can’t wait to see you!

Stella Ru
I just got home from a memorial for a friend who died from covid. I hope you are right about reemergeing. I look forward to seeing you in person one of these days!

Christine Kristen
love this, Moze.

John Mosbaugh
Christine Kristen thx christine. Yea we have several shared friends who are deep in the denial hole. It’ll be interesting to see what they’re up to a year or so from now.

Christine Kristen
John Mosbaugh really? didn’t know….

Alexandra Davies
Great local reporting and reminiscing, as always. 😉