Monday, October 19, 2020

Pandemic and Venus: March 2020

On March 5, 2020, an emergency was declared in my state of Maryland after COVID-19 was confirmed to have arrived with two people testing positive. By March 12, all schools and University of Maryland campuses had moved to continuing online after spring break. Emergency was escalated with the invocation of Maryland National Guard.  By March 30, the number of cases had reached over 1000 and our governor issued a mandatory stay-at-home order. On the same day, Virginia and Washington DC also went into "lock-down" - a phrase that would eventually cease to surprise but which was terrifying when I first heard it.

Mid-April. Our bustling suburban city of 110,000 is a ghost town. Nothing moving in a deafening silence. A bit after dark. I step out and see a helicopter searchlight behind the trees. A pretty common sight - Medevac or police bird hovering, looking for something. I go back in thinking nothing of it.

Next night, around same time. The helicopter, searchlight on, still hovering at the exact same spot. Hmmm ... interesting, maybe the USAF is doing something at the nearby Andrews Air Force Base. Has happened before.

Night #3. Helicopter with light again. Beginnings of a doubt, but still shrugged it off.

Night #4 - Mental flags go up. A perfectly still helicopter at a geometrically precise location night after night at the same hour on the clock?

I fire up the sky-chart app. The hazy skies of the capital region had cleared so much that for the first time in my 23 years living here, I was looking at the dazzling evening star - Venus. I ran in and grabbed the kids. "Look at that - what do you think that is?"

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