But what about us? I kept thinking the pandemic would abate. It did not. I kept hoping flights from New York to Russia would resume and I could take my chances. They did not. I considered and abandoned a backup plan of flying to Helsinki and swimming from there.
We kept in touch with Molly and Pasha via Zoom and FaceTime. One occasion was an online birthday party for our younger daughter, who lives in Chicago. For birthday décor, my wife and I had a picture of a balloon she had drawn on a piece of printer paper with a Sharpie. Pasha and Molly, quarantined in their apartment, had festooned it with banners and actual balloons. Pasha, wearing a goofy party hat, said hello and a few more words in English (he’s learning). Then he pulled out a ukulele and sang a soulful birthday song originated by an animated crocodile in a Soviet-era children’s show. It was ridiculous, and he looked ridiculous, but he was warmhearted and wholehearted and entirely un-self-conscious, making every effort to make a real party of it for his fiancée’s sister.
And I was happy. This guy just might be good enough.
The wedding — or, at least, the marriage — was still set for July 4. There would be no party, nothing beyond the civil ceremony. Witnesses would be two friends and Pasha’s immediate family. The appointment was for noon, which is 5 a.m. in New York. We were up at 4:30 and glued to Zoom.
Molly was gorgeous, of course, in a flowing white dress. Pasha wore a pink suit with a checked vest and a lacy white cravat that complemented Molly’s arm veils. The bride and groom both wore white sneakers and masks as they assembled with their group outside the wedding venue.
The Coronavirus Outbreak ›
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated August 24, 2020
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
- In the beginning, the coronavirus seemed like it was primarily a respiratory illness — many patients had fever and chills, were weak and tired, and coughed a lot, though some people don’t show many symptoms at all. Those who seemed sickest had pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and received supplemental oxygen. By now, doctors have identified many more symptoms and syndromes. In April, the C.D.C. added to the list of early signs sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches. Gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea and nausea, has also been observed. Another telltale sign of infection may be a sudden, profound diminution of one’s sense of smell and taste. Teenagers and young adults in some cases have developed painful red and purple lesions on their fingers and toes — nicknamed “Covid toe” — but few other serious symptoms.
Why does standing six feet away from others help?
- The coronavirus spreads primarily through droplets from your mouth and nose, especially when you cough or sneeze. The C.D.C., one of the organizations using that measure, bases its recommendation of six feet on the idea that most large droplets that people expel when they cough or sneeze will fall to the ground within six feet. But six feet has never been a magic number that guarantees complete protection. Sneezes, for instance, can launch droplets a lot farther than six feet, according to a recent study. It’s a rule of thumb: You should be safest standing six feet apart outside, especially when it’s windy. But keep a mask on at all times, even when you think you’re far enough apart.
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
- As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?
- The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
Called inside, they walked down an arched stairway into a large ballroom with white-trimmed pale green walls and massive chandeliers. They stood, socially distanced, from a dark-haired woman in a white dress. As classical music played from unseen speakers, she spoke at some length in a melodious voice. Sitting more than 4,000 miles away in our pajamas, my wife and I did not understand a word she was saying, although I did catch her say Molly’s name, and I clearly heard Molly and Pasha both saying one crucial word in response to a question: “Da.”
Then they embraced, and signed another document, and everyone stood for the playing of “The Hymn of St. Petersburg,” which is apparently required, post-wedding, in St. Petersburg.