Mar 13, 2020

Coronavirus Stream-of-Consciousness, 3/12/2020

Here are some real-time thoughts from what feels like the end of days.  I'm writing this on the fly as I would in my journal. Welcome to my mind, glad to have ya.  Definitely haven't edited this and don't intend to.  Coronavirus/COVID-19 has come to the US and it's spreading rapidly.

Ever since I first heard about the virus in Wuhan, I've been uneasy.  It spread SO fast.  There were videos of them literally trying to sanitize the streets with a huge chemical sprayer.  People were terrified - they even put masks on their dogs for walks.  Speaking of, a dog actually caught it from a human so not even pets are safe. We then learned that masks won't help you stay healthy, not really even the special n95 ones.  Nevertheless, they started to sell out here in the US before there was even a single case here. It started to show up in other countries across the world, Iran, South Korea, and more. Then Italy. Not sure when it came here, but Seattle was the first and my friend was actually visiting there at the time. So many people kept saying they weren't that worried about it, they are more worried about the flu "because it kills more people" (wrong) or it's "just a cold" (also wrong).

We went to Ohio last week for 2 funerals (more to come on that).  Before we left, I ran to Costco to stock up on some food just in case. I didn't get a ton, just some canned vegetables, coffee, some things for Haddie, and yes... toilet paper.  They were sold out of water.  We left Thursday. There were cases in Washington state and New York, but it didn't seem like a lot.  Well, on our way there, we saw on the news that Maryland declared a state of emergency as there were 3 cases in Montgomery County, which is a neighboring county to me and where I had spent half my time the past 2 weeks.  We called my mom and she said to come anyways -- turns out my dad's cousins who were there also were also from an area of emergency (Chicago) which alleviated my fears a bit bc at least we were equally being risky? I don't know.

I shared on my Facebook that MD was in a state of emergency and was met with a bunch of nasty remarks with people commenting it was an overreaction and then arguing back and forth.  It made me wish I had never even posted it and was just the beginning of what would later come on social media.

Ohio (at the time) wasn't freaking out.  Some people were stocking up, but not much.  We decided, as well as my cousins, that it would be smart to run to Meijer and stock up on non-perishable food and supplies for at least 2 weeks and bring it back with us, just in case.  I got a ton of canned foods, soups, pouches for Haddie, medicine, etc, and a bunch of water. I was surprised to find that they were out of hand sanitizer.  Marty and Tom were also concerned as there was a death in their town, actually down the street, due to the virus.  But for the most part, we lived our regular lives last weekend.

I was starting to freak out and Amy sent me a podcast that was somehow supposed to make me feel better, but I listened to it and it had me freaking out more than ever.  It was around this time that this started to be all I can think about! It's so hard to get other things done or see the good in the world.

WELL. Things have escalated and quickly.  Italy is in an actual crisis.  3 weeks ago they had 3 cases, now they have over 10,000 and over 800 people are dead. 200 people died in a single day. These are people who were alive just 3 weeks ago and now they aren't, because of this virus. The entire country is on lockdown.  The hospitals are overburdened and doctors are literally having to make a choice of who lives and who dies.  They are saying this can happen here, almost 70% of the population will likely get it.

We got back on Sunday. Haddie went to school Monday-Wednesday and Bill went to work.  Every day, more and more cases.  More and more deaths.  More notices about places where contagious people may have been.  The first DC case. The first VA case, the first case in my county. The first 3 cases in Ohio, in a county where many relatives live.

I have been so truly shocked, confused, and saddened by some of my family member and hometown friends' reactions to everything - so many people have said that everyone prepping is an over reaction, that people are stupid because they are buying up toilet paper (honestly if I see one more stupid post or meme or joke about toilet paper, I'm going to lose it), that it's a liberal hoax, that it's not as bad as the flu, that it's just a little cold -- it's enraging and literally SO shocking to me.  I don't understand how people can be so obtuse.  I've been really cutting back on interacting with others on Facebook because I honestly don't have the energy to argue with people, even though I know the facts.  I absolutely have not been overreacting, but even if I was, who cares?  I didn't hoard anything, I simply bought things that my family will eventually eat.  We've been avoiding public places as much as possible and I've cancelled all plans coming up.  I'm quite literally not bothering anyone else and in fact doing the actual opposite.  Everything I have read says that social distancing and canceling social events, no matter how small, is the number one way to literally save lives.

It was officially declared a pandemic on Wednesday. After texting with Bill a bit, we decided I should run to Costco and do a final stock up.  We realized that while we had a lot of canned/dry goods, we actually didn't have anything fresh to eat now and no meat.  I dashed to the store, hoping to beat the rush, but no luck -- people were literally scrambling to get the remaining carts.  I was able to get a bunch of meat - chicken, ground turkey, steak, ground beef, mahi mahi, veggies, milk, and was out of there in under an hour.  I also placed a couple of online orders for diapers and cat litter.

In the middle of the day, I had an actual panic attack because I saw an update from daycare that Haddie had eaten shepherd's pie for lunch, which has dairy in it.  She was supposed to get the vegan curry option instead. I was so afraid we were going to have to take her to the ER which is the last place I want to be right now.  My entire body was like awash with anxiety -- I got hives and I felt all prickly! I was shaking and almost crying. Her getting sick from something that an adult who she trusts feeds her is one of the saddest things I can imagine. I called the school and turns out it was just a reporting mistake putting it into the app.  PHEW but still.  That was scary.

Before I picked up Haddie, I also dashed to Giant for some alcohol ha. If we are going to be quarantined or on lockdown, we will need supplies ha ha.  I got us a box of wine and some beer for Bill -- annoyingly they didn't have any White Claw.  I also grabbed dairy free creamer and cheese, cilantro, fish sticks, fries, and finally some canned fruit -- it was sold out everywhere!  I made it to get Haddie in the nick (knick?) of time at 5:59.  Her director said "see you tomorrow!" and I had a weird feeling that she would not, in fact, be seeing us tomorrow.

Well tomorrow is today and things REALLY blew up today.

Bill woke up not feeling very well.  No fever, but still.  Not smart to go in, plus I would prefer he not go in at all anymore ever.  We are just praying for the notice that he's able to telework.  He decided to stay home.  We debated taking Haddie but ultimately decided that it's just not worth the risk.  I am really happy with the decision.  I told my mom and my dad later texted me "good decision keeping Haddie home."  I'm grateful that I am able to have her home.

All day/week long today, it's been a barrage of learning about things being shut down and canceled.  Washington state has banned public gatherings of over 200 people. There's a containment area set up in New Rochelle NY. We heard stories of an attorney going in and out of NYC and unknowingly infecting at least 50 people.  You can have no symptoms for up to 14 days.

Two conferences held in DC had attendees that were later confirmed to be positive for the virus. Speaking of conferences, every conference that all of my friends were supposed to attend have been canceled.

I don't understand how other people have been able to go about their daily lives, when this is all I can focus on.  It's almost as if I could anticipate the future - I could see chaos brewing and I knew it was going to spread.  I know the virus is out there, waiting to get me at any moment.  I've been following the steps and handwashing nonstop, using sanitizer when I can't, and avoid public places as much as possible with the exception of shopping as fast as possible.  But I see everyone else just nonchalantly living their lives and doing normal things and I just don't understand how anyone can think of anything else at a time like this!

It is rumored that someone at the headquarters of my company has it.

Last night, Pres Trump came on the air for a live address to the nation and said that all travel from Europe is banned. For once, I was glued to the screen listening to every single word that he said.

Later, Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife both have it.  Trudeau's wife has it. A Brazilian that Trump shook hands with has it.  We found out today that a resident of my town has it.

A book festival I was set to volunteer at got canceled, then a fun kids consignment sale I've been looking forward to.  Cherry Blossom festival events.  St. Patrick's Day parades.  The NBA and other professional sports.  They first announced that March Madness would be held without spectators, but now they announced  is canceled and UD had a real shot of winning.  Public schools are canceled in Ohio and here in Maryland until April.  Disneyland is closing.  NBA and other professional sports are canceled. My sister's musical is canceled (and her job for the time being as schools are closed).

I spent a lot of the morning being angry at people whining about things being canceled and closed and how it's such an overreaction.  People whining because their kids don't get to compete in championships or their St. Patrick's Day parade is closed.  So many memes being posted about how it's all a joke and a hoax and I was just infuriated.  I could barely read some of my family and friends comments to each other and on things.  It's like I want to delete half my Facebook, but I want to see how it all plays out. 

At work today, every phone call started with talk about coronavirus.  Every time anyone mentioned people overreacting, someone chimed in with a voice of reason to explain why this is serious.  I am glad to see it's catching on that this isn't a joke.

My friends and I have had running text threads for the last couple of days, talking to each other about every update.  Did you hear about what's happening in this state or this city?  Did you hear another new case here, or there?  Did you hear so and so has it?  It's a scary taste of what's to come.

I video chatted with my mom around 6pm - she was calling to give me all the updates about Ohio - no events over 100 people, all schools closed until April, all sporting events closed, people are being urged to use online ordering at the grocery store.  She's taking it very seriously and I'm glad to hear that.  She said never in her entire life has she seen this type of response by the government and it has her scared.

UPDATE It's 11:30 pm and everything is closing all across the country. Disney World now too and the Smithsonian museums. Here in Maryland, the National Guard is activated, all schools are closed, public buildings are closed, no passenger travel is allowed at the ports, and events of over 250 are banned.

There are reportedly hundreds of thousands of people, millions likely, walking around with the virus but we just don't know because there aren't enough tests.  The governor of Ohio estimated that there are 100,000 cases (or 1% of the population) just in Ohio alone.  That is terrifying! Oh and I have a cough, did I mention that?  I've been coughing on and off for a week or so.  I have also been SUPER tired some evenings.  It happens to be allergy season too and I don't have a fever, but it's sure an alarming time to have a cough.  Half the time I'm wondering if it's in my head but then I literally have to cough, so I'm fairly certain it's real.  I am a hypochondriac from way back though, so I always question my own self.

We got a taste of what social distancing/quarantine/lockdown might be like in our neighborhood today as seemingly everyone was outside in the evening.  I was totally skeeved out when kids came over to try to play with Haddie and I think my neighbor realized because he went to give her a high five and changed it into an elbow bump.  I feel like we are going to get to know our neighbors a lot better in the coming weeks.  But from a safe distance.  I'm going to get better at ensuring 6 ft distance between us.

A lot of the people who were I don't know, ignoring the situation or thinking it wasn't actually going to get serious have now been rushing to the store and it seems like everything is truly sold out.  The shelves are straight up barren (bare?) at our Costco.  I heard there was no parking at Aldi or Giant.  The wheels have come off the bus so it seems.

So that's where we are. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared.  This feels scary.  This feels like an unprecedented pandemic the likes of which no one alive has seen before. Except I guess for some 102+ year olds who were alive during the Spanish Flu. Swine Flu didn't feel like this.  I also didn't have a husband and a child of my own during the Swine Flu.  I was barely an adult myself and I don't think I understood the gravity of the situation, but also the government didn't do anything like they are doing now, so this just feels different.  It feels like the end of the world, or like we are on the cusp of something really really bad.  I am trying to not panic because I am prepared.  I'm armed with provisions and knowledge.  We are doing the best we can to protect our little family.  But I worry for everyone else.  What this all is going to mean.  I hate being so far away from my family, especially all of the older members who they say are most at risk.  I know that I'm freaking out and I can see that I'm spiraling a bit, but I don't think it's unwarranted.  I also don't care if I've overreacted, I would love for this all to be an overreaction, but I don't think it is.  I think we are in for a long haul. I read an article that said Americans lives are about to majorly change in ways we have never seen.

I am able to add a little brevity to my life, though.  I'm not completely tripping.  I am catsitting and I sent the owners a text that said "you must really trust me, leaving valuables out in the open like that!" They said "huh?" and I sent them a picture of the Purell on their counter. Har har har.  My brain is just running constantly with thoughts and I can't think of a single way to wrap this up other than to sign off with my new slogan, a spin off one of my fave podcasts, My Favorite Murder, stay sexy and don't get COVID-19.

1 comment:

  1. I don't have a lot to add. I'm glad you were able to get all of this out. I've been struggling with that. I don't know what Texas is doing. A conference I'm supposed to present at hadn't been canceled yet. I'm baffled and tired of arguing why it's problematic that it hasn't been. Our schools that were on spring break this week were just told they won't be coming back for the next two. Our schools that are on spring break next week don't know much more than spring break is next week. IDK. I'm having a hard time processing it all because Texas feels so far behind the curve.


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