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Who would have guessed that Chess would become a top e-sport in 2020?

The Queen’s Gambit Netflix series catapulted the ancient sport into the zeitgeist but the timing of it also coincided with a pandemic where everyone is at home and an era where technology made it more accessible to play and learn about than even 10 years ago. Chess was always obscured by its complexity. It was something that needed to be studied in books. It was the realm of true genius, a pastime for polymaths.

As a child I played friends over the board a few times, but…


As if this year needed to feel more surreal, I tested positive for Covid-19 on election day.

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Los Angeles Times

As if I needed any reminder of how vast and connected our world is, a virus which began its journey through the human race in some part of Wuhan, China found its way, nearly a year later, to me.

Not for a lack of effort either. I faithfully wore my mask, limited my exposure to friends and family, never dined in at a restaurant, refused wedding invites — but still, it found me.

Feeling sick a few days after celebrating my son’s birthday with my parents and brother’s family, I took a test. Four days later my results read positive…


As protests and violence hit every major American city at once, a country still reeling from a pandemic finds itself alone once again.

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It’s hard to describe what the moment feels like. Since the country woke up to the reality of the Coronavirus in early March, there have been several anxiety filled days and sleepless nights. Uncertainty and fear dominates the American psyche.

But in the moment of crisis, rather than bringing us all together to confront our fate, America is pulling itself apart.

Then there was the death of George Floyd on video, another black man killed by police in plain view of the whole country. Undeniable, incontrovertible evidence of police brutality coming not so long after the accidental shooting death of…


By the end of the week, most of the United States will be rolling back the self-imposed shutdown. But it‘s starting to feels like it was all for nothing.

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LA Times

By the time California lifts its quarantine order on May 8, we will have been in quarantine more than 50 days.

For my family it’s slightly longer. My wife is a teacher. When the school district officially shut down, a week before the state, we decided to cloister ourselves away.

I remember feeling at the time that our country had no plan for the virus and feeling somewhat legitimately afraid that judgement day had come — the evangelical fears of the tribulation never quite leave you.

As the days blurred into each other and smeared by, I began to feel…


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LA Times

Birthdays, like days of the week or wearing different clothes, have lost meaning in the soft quarantine of coronavirus.

We just stay at home, like hopefully everyone else is, and hope for a card in the mail, or a few texts or notifications on our long dormant Facebook profiles we never got around to deactivating.

The history books will likely record April as the heart of the United States’ infection as most people are staying home, most businesses are closed, and millions of people are out of work or working from home. …


Millions of Americans have been told to stay home to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Now we wait for the oncoming storm.

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Los Angeles Times

“We have barred the gates but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes…drums, drums in the deep.”- Gandalf, Lord of the Rings

So much has changed in a week.

Millions of Americans are under orders to stay at home and all non-essential businesses have shuttered their doors. Once busy streets are now nearly empty save for families taking their children out for walks.

It wasn’t so long ago that this was unimaginable. Now it feels risky for it not to be this way. …


The President made a show of his newfound commitment to mitigating the coronavirus outbreak, but if he fails to follow through, what then?

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Is this the last weekend Americans will be able to move around freely for a while? It seems insane to suggest, but as one country after another in Europe moves toward restrictive lockdowns to contain the exponentially growing coronavirus pandemic, the probability has certainly increased.

What it may hinge on, sadly, is whether the Trump administration’s all-hands-on-deck press conference Friday afternoon was a real commitment or just a show.

After the spectacular failure of Wednesday night’s presidential address, Friday was something of a make up call. The markets, both grocery and financial listened to what the president had to say…


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As the President finally addressed the nation about the virus which had been spreading throughout the world and country for several weeks, little did he know that an NBA game that was scheduled to start soon, would nearly overshadow what he said.

Coronavirus is here to stay. The weeks of pointless political posturing, of erratic stock market trading and of declining normalcy have come to a head in this country.

The President ran through his outline seated at the Resolute Desk, talking travel bans and economic leniency for sick workers and tax breaks for businesses. …


Coronavirus feels like a serial killer that we are no closer to catching.

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Lombardy. The region in Italy that is home to as many as 16 million people has been cut off from the rest of the boot in an effort to save it.

Months ago we expressed astonishment that China could wall off its megacities. It seemed like the hallmark of an authoritarian government, an overly aggressive and anti-citizen response to a problem that its leader’s own ignorance had created. Trying to apply that to the U.S. was unfathomable. What would Los Angeles look like if nobody could get in or out? …


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Rumors. Empty Aisles. The Coronavirus reveals our primal survival instincts.

Packed grocery stores, not quite panic, not quite normal. Friends talk about taking precautions. We cite the CDC’s warning that things might get a little weird.

Stories about other countries already in the throes of pandemic life. Of suspicion of others and friends and family. The U.S. just waits. A man has died in Washington, we hear.

How did he get the virus? Who did he come in contact with?

2–3%. Everyone knows the numbers now. But still everything is relative. Is it 2–3% of people we have never met in some far flung region? Is it 2–3% of everyone…

Steven Martinez

Born mobile. @day4bananafish

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