Covid-19: France and the U.S.

These are trying, troubled times, especially in the United States where Covid -19 seems out of control. As an American living in France, I found the  article, “Do Americans Understand How Badly They’re Doing,”  which appeared in The Atlantic on July 5, pathetically pertinent.  The author of the article, Thomas Williams Chatterton, is an American who … Continue reading “Covid-19: France and the U.S.”

We were happy when our neighborhood park reopened,  These ancient olive trees are magnificent,

These are trying, troubled times, especially in the United States where Covid -19 seems out of control. As an American living in France, I found the  article, “Do Americans Understand How Badly They’re Doing,”  which appeared in The Atlantic on July 5, pathetically pertinent.  The author of the article, Thomas Williams Chatterton, is an American who lives in France.

Williams relates his experience of returning with his family to Paris after having spent the lockdown, “one of the world’s most aggressive quarantines,” in a rural village. Paris was bustling, minus tourists but with lots of locals enjoying their new freedom. This worried him.  Many seemed indifferent to the discipline that was required– masks, social distancing.

Restaurants in France have reopened,  Above, Beaulieu-sur-Mer

 “I couldn’t shake the feeling that France was also opening up recklessly early. But I was wrong to worry. As Donald Trump’s America continues to shatter records for daily infections, France, like most other developed nations and even some undeveloped ones, seems to have beat back the virus,” he wrote. He cited Texas, Florida, and Arizona where the virus appears out of control. He wrote of a tweet by musician Rosanne Cash stating that her daughter had been called a “liberal pussy!” in Nashville for wearing a mask to buy groceries.

‘That insult succinctly conveys the crux of the problem. American leadership has politicized the pandemic instead of trying to fight it. I see no preparedness, no coordinated top-down leadership of the sort we’ve enjoyed in Europe. I see only empty posturing, the sad spectacle of the president refusing to wear a mask, just to own the libs. What an astonishing self-inflicted wound,” he wrote.

Chatterton also wrote of the EU travel ban on visitors from the U.S.and other hot-spot nations.  “The EU believes that the United States is no better than Russia and Brazil—autocrat-run public-health disasters—and that American tourists would pose a dire threat to the hard-won stability our lockdown has earned us. So much for the myth that the American political system and way of life are a model for the world.”

Enjoying the Mediterranean — before the crowds.

Chatterton worries about his parents in the U.S., in their ’70s and ’80s  and “at the mercy of a society that is failing extravagantly to protect them… from a tough and dangerous foe that many other societies have wrestled into submission.” — Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of “Self Portrait in Black and White”


I too am worried — about friends and family in the U.S., about the state of the country where I was born.  The virus  is not the only woe plaguing the U.S. The world watched in horror as George Floyd was despicably murdered. We have witnessed police brutality, raw racism. Gun violence is increasing. The country is being torn apart with hatred, lies, dangerous conspiracies – plus the virus. It’s all hard to fanthom. Yet, despite all the gloom, on one front I remain optimistic.  At last it seems to be sinking in. Black Lives do Matter. More and more are waking up to the reality, the cruelty and injustice of systemic racism in the country. Change will be slow, but it’s underway. That gives me hope.


I feel guilty writing about our lives in France now. With the exception of masks and social distancing,  all seems normal. Maybe too normal. As we see hot spots emerging in places where all was under control — Australia, for example — I have to worry and wonder about the dangers that may lie ahead.  It is especially troubling when I see large groups of maskless folk. Nonetheless, since our strict lockdown ended on May 11, we have enjoyed returning to beloved Italy to see a friend and shop. We have been to restaurants, but always dining outside. We visited friend Karen in Beaulieu- sur -Mer and walked along the coast together.

Sainte Agnes

We explored Sainte Agnes, a nearby hillside town. I have been to the beach, but it is crowded and chaotic. We are lucky. Our apartment building has a beautiful pool – crowd free. I’d prefer to swim in the Med, but the pool is serene, soothing and safe. We are fortunate to be here.

No crowds at the pool.

img_7918_compressedPlease, wherever you are, wear a mask. Social Distance. Stay home if possible. Read. The following two articles, both recommended by friend Trina who has survived lockdown in Italy, are enlightening. They are part of the New York Times 1619 Project which examines the legacy of slavery in America.

 You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument

If you want to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.

On the topic of slavery and racism, two brilliant novels I can recommend, both by Colson Whitehead: “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys.”

This following Washington Post article is heartbreaking, tragic, and yet another example of the inhumanity of DT : “Clint Lorance had been in charge of his platoon for only three days when he ordered his men to kill three Afghans stopped on a dirt road. A second-degree murder conviction and pardon followed. Today, Lorance is hailed as a hero by President Trump. His troops have suffered a very different fate.”

Scroll down for some happy scenes.  And, feel free to add your thoughts.  See Leave a Reply below, then scroll to bottom. Comments welcome. If not a talesndtravel follower, sign up, upper right.  Your address is kept private, not shared,

Sunrise on the Mediterranean.

Along the coast
Karen, Bob and Cindy on the beach in Camporoso. — our first outing to Italy after lockdown ended.


17 thoughts on “Covid-19: France and the U.S.”

  1. Absolutely wonderful and right on, Leah. You covered everything as it is here in France currently, and the unfortunate situation in the U.S. I, like you and Bob, am happy to be here. And you captured perfectly that biker-rock-runner on video!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d give this ten stars if I could! I watched the virus from its start in China with a scientist’s fascination. I was concerned but not “afraid” because I just assumed everyone would be on board with not wanting to die from or be infected by a horrible mystery virus. Well, you know what they say about the word “assume.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Leah; Thanks for sharing. Agree with everything Sharon stated above; it goes double for Arizona with its Trump-lackey “governor.” Fortunately we and our children and spouses in Reno, Chino Valley, AZ; and Nashville, are all healthy. We too, envy those who can ride this out in Europe. Who knows when we will again travel to Bavaria, or ski Italy. Our next door neighbors have no idea when they will see their son living in Frankfurt. Our children’s American music teacher from Pirmasens Elementary lives with her American husband on their boat in a Montenegro marina. She came home to Utah in February to visit family and ski Park City. She’s been unable to get back, and her husband can’t get to Utah. all due to America’s abysmal handling of the Covid crisis. We are not trapped; we can get out. But we can’t go anywhere because as someone once famously said “there’s no there, there.” Oh, well. It’s 38.8ºC right now and climbing. But the A/C is working well, beer in the fridge, and Campari and Pastis on the counter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your news, Warren. I am happy to know that you and family are safe. There are probably many in similar, difficult situations like the folks on the boat in Montenegro. The way things are going, who knows when they can reunite? Stay safe. Keep the fridge stocked


  4. I echo all the previous comments, Leah— your words so very powerful, so very helpful. Thank you!
    I listened to an interview of the author Annette Gordon-Reed and was intrigued by her story of a particular fact about Thomas Jefferson re his words vs his actions when it came to slavery. I haven’t read the book but it sounded as if she was able to shed some much-needed light on what his contributions/contradictions meant to the matter of slavery in US.
    It may be of interest: Most Blessed of the Patriarchs, Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love, love, love this blog! You hit all the right notes. Love your reading recommendations and everything else. You’ve given a lot of people a lot of things to think about, worry about, be grateful about, and, above all, be more knowledgeable about. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for writing this, Leah. I agree with everything you said. We look longingly at your lovely photos from Europe, and daily we read emails from our many other friends in Europe, while wishing we could move back there ourselves. Instead, we’re stuck in Texas, in one of the major hot spots in a country that is the hot spot of the world, with a president and his enablers who are making matters worse for the entire country because of their warped political ideology and desire to hold on to power at all costs. And we can’t even move back to Europe right now because of our American passports. Sad situation indeed. But sadness doesn’t encompass all my reactions to America’s handling of this pandemic. I am angered and disgusted, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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