2021年4月2日 星期五

The Daily: A Postcard From the Future

To envision a post-pandemic world, we called Betty Lou and Zita. Plus, we have a new show!

By Lauren Jackson, Mahima Chablani and Desiree Ibekwe

Hi everyone, happy Friday! Spring is happening (at least where we are), vaccine access is expanding and we're feeling something like hope. So, inspired by our episode on one nursing home's first day out of lockdown, we're dedicating this newsletter to all the possibilities of a post-pandemic world.

Last week, we asked you what you're most looking forward to doing once the world calibrates to a new normal, and many of you wrote in to tell us about the happy things you've missed — as well as the "zillion ugly, annoying, little things," you'd like back. "I want to catch an underground train jam-packed with a crowd, to get an overbooked plane or scold a bunch of noisy students disturbing a lesson," Paola Izzi in Milan said. We've decided to share a few more of your replies below. Then, read on for updates from two of the women you met from the Good Shepherd Nursing Home.

'Looking forward to looking forward'

We're dreaming of dancing. Here's what you said you're hoping to do in the after-times. These responses have been lightly edited for brevity.

"Very simply, I look forward to going to a Mets game later this year with my son. Sitting outside, socially distanced and fully vaccinated. That's it. Not too much to ask, is it?" — T.J. Russo, New York

"Looking forward to HUGS in a post-vaccination world." — Katie Moore, Maryland

"My husband and I are museum-goers. All of them have been closed for a year. But we can now anticipate our first visit, which comes Sunday, with all-new shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art." — Nancy LeMay, California

"Looking forward to seeing a play or live music. Or simply looking forward to looking forward." — Michele Puryear, Maryland

"Most looking forward to a trip to Israel in September 2021 to visit my daughter, husband, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and one more great-grandson, who is scheduled to be born two days before we arrive." — Tony Joseph, Florida


An update from Betty Lou and Zita

Residents of Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling, W.Va., participating in a penny auction.Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Last Friday, Sarah Mervosh, a National reporter for The New York Times, introduced Daily listeners to two women who were experiencing their first day out of lockdown in their nursing home. We asked her to give us an update on how they've been doing in the time since:

By Sarah Mervosh

I was sitting at my desk in my New York City apartment this week when I got a video call from a familiar face: Betty Lou Leech, 97, was FaceTiming me from her room at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling, W.V.


It had been nearly two months since I spent the day with her, chronicling the nursing home's first day out of lockdown for a New York Times story that later became an episode on The Daily. I wanted to get an update on how she and her friends at the Good Shepherd were doing.

One of the first things she told me was that, since the last time we spoke, she had finally been able to see her daughter after months of separation.

"Oh my, that was great," she said, describing how they had hugged and kissed, even though it was technically against the rules. She grew teary just talking about it. "A half-hour went by like five minutes."

She also had other news: The "beauty shop," a hair salon inside the nursing home, had opened up again and her silver hair had been coifed that day. They had also had another penny auction — an Easter theme featuring "all kinds of bunnies" up for grabs.

"It's getting much better, more relaxing," Betty Lou told me.

But as nursing homes across the country open up again, amid widespread vaccinations, life isn't completely back to normal.


Family members have to make appointments for time-slotted visits. And residents still cannot leave the facility for most excursions, a decision that the nursing home administrator, Don Kirsch, made in part because of the risk of virus variants spreading in the community.

I also spoke with Zita Husick, an avid gambler who turned 96 since I last saw her. She told me she was disappointed not to be able to visit the local casino. When I asked Don about this over the phone, he told me he hoped to be able to allow her to go one day. "I still want her to get there," he said, adding with a laugh: "She promised me if she hits big, we're splitting."

Neither Betty Lou nor Zita has been able to listen to the Daily episode yet. (The nursing home is burning the episode onto CDs to give to them as a keepsake.) But they know their story has reached far and wide.

Betty Lou, who had won cheese puffs in an auction on the day that I saw her, had received bags of cheese curls in the mail from New York Times readers. She also did an interview with Australian radio.

Both women were happy to talk again — and so was I.

"Love you," Betty Lou said as we hung up.

"Thanks for calling," said Zita, who had worried that I had forgotten about her. "It makes me feel good. Like you are thinking of me."

From Serial: The Improvement Association


The Improvement Association is a five-part audio series about the power of election fraud allegations — even when they're not substantiated.

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The New York Times

From Serial: The Improvement Association

A true story about election fraud.

If you've heard of Bladen County, N.C., the setting for this series, it's probably because the county made national headlines a few years ago. In 2018, Mark Harris, a Republican, beat out his Democratic opponent for a congressional seat, but the election was later thrown out and a new election was called after his campaign was investigated over suspicions of absentee-ballot fraud.

But according to some local residents, the authorities got it all wrong. They say there's a powerful group still at work in the county, tampering with elections, bullying voters and stealing votes — a Black advocacy group, the Bladen County Improvement Association. These accusations have never been substantiated, but they persist.

Join the reporter Zoe Chace as she goes back to Bladen County to figure out what's behind all this suspicion. Who exactly is making the accusations? And in small-town politics, where rumors and allegations abound, how can you be sure who is telling the truth? The trailer is out now, and you can listen to the first episode on April 13.

What to listen to this weekend

Listen to some of our best articles from around The Times. Then, watch the Oscar contender "Promising Young Woman" and listen to Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris break down the movie in the latest episode of Still Processing.

Hunter Biden's Memoir, Translating Amanda Gorman and Learning to Love Cardboard: The Week in Narrated Articles

Five articles from around The Times, narrated just for you.

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No Country for Any Men

"Promising Young Woman," Emerald Fennell's dark revenge fantasy, raises deep questions about sexual assault and justice.

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On The Daily this week

Monday: Ahead of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white police officer accused of killing George Floyd, we looked at what we could expect from the defense, prosecution and jury.

Tuesday: An exploration of how Georgia's Republican leaders have moved to restrict voting rights in a state that is increasingly turning from red to purple.

Wednesday: A conversation between Raphael Warnock, Georgia's first Black senator, and Astead Herndon.

Thursday: How a small group of workers in Alabama are taking on Amazon.

Friday: What is in President Biden's infrastructure plan? And how will it get passed?

That's it for The Daily newsletter. See you next week.

Have thoughts about the show? Tell us what you think at thedaily@nytimes.com.

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