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May 7 2020: Hamburgers with Side of Denial

May 7 2020: Yesterday Katie and I left the apartment. Grocery shopping was the prime motivation, because I was craving a big salad something awful. Fresh produce has become my weakness.

We stopped by the bakery cafe to support them. For €9 we got a big bag of day-old stuff including two loaves of bread, a half-dozen vaniljamunkit (think donuts rolled in sugar), a big package of karelian pies, and ruis-jyvä ohukainen, which translates to “rye grain pancake” but is more like dense, chewy rye pita bread.

Then we hit Hesburger for lunch. Got cheeseburgers and fries to go, found a bench outside, and ate in the sunshine. It was a meal I didn’t have to cook or clean up after. That was the treat. The fact that it was tasty was a bonus.

While we had I nice time, I’m still not a huge fan of going out. We were the only people with masks on, using the complimentary hand sanitizer, and wiping down shopping carts before we touched them. The employees seemed to appreciate it. Other customers looked at us as if we were crazy.

Hamburgers with Side of Denial

Look, I get it. There have only been 127 confirmed cases here in a region of over 250,000 people. In the entire country there have only been around 5,500 cases and 252 deaths. There’s currently no official government requirement, or even a formal recommendation, to wear face masks. As with many things in Finland, they’re awaiting the results of a scientific study on the efficacy of masks. If it turns out that they help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government has suggested that they’ll pay for them and distribute them to people. Right now, though, they lack the data to make a good decision.

But other protections remain in place. Most workers in stores are wearing cloth masks or clear plastic face shields. The bakery cafe and Hesburger are still only doing takeaway. There are clear plexiglass shields between customers and cashiers.  It’s not like the United States, where people are protesting lockdowns, assaulting park rangers, or murdering security guards. What is obvious is that people here no longer feel particularly threatened by the virus, and are acting as if everything has already returned to normal.

May 7 2020

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  • Today is Day 52 in isolation. 

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