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Russia reports 9,200 new Covid-19 cases and 119 deaths

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I flew to Greece and began solo IVF. Then the world shut down

It is 7.53am, the last Wednesday in March, and at a courier depot in Athens, the sperm of a Bermudian mechanical engineering student arrives, carried in a nitrogen tank. For the last three days, I have followed the tank’s journey across Europe, loading and reloading the courier website as it made its way from a cryobank in Denmark through Germany to mainland Greece.

The continent has been shutting down, borders closing as coronavirus spreads, and as the days have passed, the improbability of this delivery, its chances of ever reaching its destination, have seemed increasingly slim.

Invisible deaths: from nursing homes to prisons, the corona toll is out of sight – and out of mind?

John Delano was six years old when the contagion struck his neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. There was a morgue just down the road. Coffins began spilling on to the sidewalk. It made the perfect stage for an exciting new game.

“We thought, ‘Boy, this is great,’” he recalled. “‘It’s like climbing the pyramids.’ Then one day, I slipped and broke my nose on one of the coffins. My mother was very upset. She said, didn’t I realize there were people in those boxes who had died?”

Delano’s account, recorded in Catharine Arnold’s history of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, encapsulates a crucial aspect of that disaster: the public nature of death. Coffins became a feature of daily life, stacked on sidewalks and in people’s front rooms. Roads were jammed dawn to dusk with horse-drawn hearses, heading for the cemeteries.

A century on, death has disappeared from the streets of America. The 2020 pandemic is memorable not for coffins piled high but for data modeling and statistics. For most Americans, the figure of 85,901 deaths in the US is as visceral as it gets.

A virus that is in itself invisible has spawned a nationwide response in which the most extreme manifestation of the disease, loss of life, is invisible too. You can’t play coffin pyramids when funerals have been transferred to that great resting place in the cyber-sky: Zoom.

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