Covid-19 Economic Catastrophe

Almost 10 million people have filled claims for unemployment compensation in the last two weeks in the United States. As reported by the New York Times today, “the speed and scale of the job losses is without precedent. Until last month, the worst week for unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982.”

First people fell ill with covid-19 and then other people stopped going out. Now the economic pain has started to hit people hard. These numbers are deeply disturbing. And after 19 days in lockdown in Spain, my mood is becoming foul too. Life feels unreal. Like we are all sharing the same bad dream and hope to wake up soon.

When I got up this morning, I wished I could change into a bear and hibernate for months, or until this horror show is over. I am already getting tired of the shared lockdown jokes and memes and just want to go somewhere. Anywhere where the suffering is not so acute. Where might that be?

I want to fly to San Francisco and be with our sons. But they are in lockdown too and cannot go anywhere. We were supposed to go to Prague today for a European Unitarian Universalist conference this weekend. Then we were going to visit Vienna to stay with a friend there for a few days. But no one is travelling and the flights were cancelled.

It seems like the only way we will survive this is to stop thinking about our disappointments, our dashed travel plans and what we are missing out on, like going out and seeing friends, and instead we just need to find things to do each day to keep our minds occcupied. I had looked forward to doing yoga this morning via zoom but then the instructor’s camera stopped working so no yoga. I was too disappointed about this. Normally, this would be no big deal but when it was to be the highlight of a very uneventful day, it hurt.

After cursing and sighing a few times, I decided to work on building my family tree, knowing that would be less painful to do that read the news. My tree, Blodgetts and Delands through the Ages, has 8,700 people in it. I have been working on it for at least five years. Today I discovered more of my relatives who immigrated from Scotland to Canada and then some of them migrated down to the United States. One of great grandfather’s three generations removed was Duncan McCrimmon. When he was 21 years old, in 1815, he sailed with his parents from Greenock, Scotland to Quebec, Canada on the ship Eliza. Three other ships came over around the same time period. They were the Atlas, the Baltic Merchant, the Dorothy.

These people were referred to as the Edinburgh settlers. Here is more information, taken from a web site article about the 1815 Voyage of the Eliza.

Two hundred years ago…  many Highland men went off to fight the French during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and there was a 12 year hiatus in mass emigration of Scots to “America”. With Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, the soldiers returned home to find the economy in tatters, and the impoverished Highlands, over-populated by people and over-run with sheep.

The British government wanted to avoid civil unrest at home after the Napoleonic wars, while reinforcing the border of the British colonies in Canada against the Americans after the War of 1812. On 22 February 1815 the “Bathurst Proclamation” was issued; a new policy to encourage and subsidize Scots to emigrate to Canada. The Highland Clearances switched into high gear and the floodgates of the Scottish diaspora reopened.

Unlike previous emigrants who had largely paid for their own passage and resettlement costs, the so-called “Edinburgh Settlers” were transported, fed, subsidized and granted land.

That’s great that the British government helped pay for Scottish people to settle in new lands where they could have a more promising future. Not much of that going on any more. People from Africa or the Middle East who want a more promising future in Europe are discouraged from coming and Mexicans who want a more promising future in the US are turned back or arrested. Perhaps we are coming to the end of migratory movements. But I doubt it. I think climate change will lead to much more forced migration. But people won’t be going to a new country to seek out new economic opportunities as much as be forced to flee in order to survive. But that’s a topic for another day.

What are you doing to keep sane during this pandemic? Playing an instrument? Reading a good book? Knitting a sweater? Wherever you may be, I would love to hear how you are surviving this pandemic.


2 thoughts on “Covid-19 Economic Catastrophe

  1. The information on your Scottish ancestors is very interesting. I enjoyed reading about it. We have settled into our new life now and we’re OK. if I start to feel a bit sorry for myself, I think of Anne Frank. As my dear old dad would have said, “It could be much worse.” I wonder what he would have thought of all this. I have a number of writing projects on the go and am actually falling behind. Staying away from the news helps me a lot. Keep the faith!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it could be much worst. We could be sick with covid-19, homeless and broke! I have trouble avoiding the news for very long. I have been a news junkie for many years and worked as a journalist for 15 years!


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