Friday, May 8, 2020


Friday, May 1, 2020, 11:57 a.m., Tomoka C. I., Daytona Beach, FL

I feel fine.

They gave COVID-19 tests in my dorm for about ten men Wednesday. I tested positive, along with 40 grumpy, mostly old men from other dorms, and got moved into a previously empty dorm, K--1, classified as medically quarantined. I am asymptomatic, so far, as are most of these other men, it appears. One man said he was HIV positive, Hepatitis C positive, and now coronavirus positive. That must qualify as immuno-compromised. Most of these men are elderly, but six or so are younger, twenties to forties.

As they administer more tests, more asymptomatic prisoners will be positive for the virus. A few days ago, there were 89 inmates positive. Add 41 more in my group and it goes over 100. They offered voluntary tests to 20 work camp inmates, and 16 refused. The four who consented tested positive. Two got into a fight and went to confinement. Two others joined us in K-1. Before it is over, I imagine they'll test every prisoner. A radio person stated that overall, 96% of prisoners tested nationwide were asymptomatic, had no idea they were virus-infected. Mass testing will be required to get a handle on this pandemic.

Two nurses came in this morning to take ''vitals'' from everyone. My blood pressure was 104/60, temperature normal.

In answer to some questions from my scientist friend Weizhong, they have replaced the prison-made face masks with simple ones from a retailer. They began passing out new face masks each morning, starting today. I sleep well, can smell and taste my food, and eat it all. This dorm has 71 bunks--23 single bunks arranged in two rows in the middle, and 48 double bunks along three walls. About three feet of space separates adjacent bunks. My dorm has 28 empty bunks, which I expect will be filled soon.

The food has improved, with fruit, apple or orange, included twice a day. Two bag lunches, peanut butter or turkey bologna, and one hot meal, with vegetables. No salt or other condiments available, except for an occasional mustard pack. We were allowed to fill out an abbreviated ''emergency canteen order'' this morning.

1:19 p.m. They served lunch: smoked sausage, bread, rice, dry pinto beans, canned greens, an apple and cookie. I got full.

Nothing else has happened.

I ask that prayers be said for my mother, Lucille Norman, who was admitted to Tampa General Hospital this week. She is back home for the time being.

There will come a time when we get past this pandemic. Be strong, follow the guidelines, and take care of yourself and your loved ones. Best regards to all.


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