March 27, 2020
I cannot make this shit up if I tried! We are smack dab in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. This COVID-19 as it is formally called has spread to every corner of the world. There is no stone unturned as they say. And no, it is not related to Corona beer other than the fact that one desires to drink more because of the status of the world at this time.
The symptoms of this virus are fever, cough, and respiratory distress. Those who are elderly or have underlying health issues are most susceptible. It spreads rapidly and has a higher than normal mortality rate.
Not since the 1918 Spanish flu has the world ever experienced such a thing. That epidemic was known as one of the most horrific pandemics of the 20th century. It appears that COVID-19 has a greater contagion factor and is set to surpass the 1918 pandemic in respect to mortality.
China became known to us as one of the first places to experience the virus back in January. As we watched and waited from afar, it grew exponentially as the days passed.
Here in the United States, our illustrious president Trump briefed us on the situation saying it was “a hoax.” I don’t necessarily want to get into politics here, but lets just say he is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Nor does he have the interest of the people in mind, only himself. He should have taken action at that time before it became a massive problem here.
Given that we are such a mobile society, it was only a matter of time before it began to spread across the world. Watching this all unfold was hynogogic (another word for surreal, but I thought it simply made one think of greater than surreal surrealism!). I don’t thing it quite sunk in back in January what was happening because it was over there in China and not close to home. Little did we know it was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
With the arrival of February, China was trying to figure out how to stop the spread and how to treat the abundance of infected. Lockdown measures began to prevent the spread. I think it was somewhere around this time that the United States was in denial that it would ever become a problem. We lived our life as normal and did not give it a second thought that this could be us. It was at best difficult to comprehend something so far away.
If our government had taken the situation seriously it would have been at this point that their actions to prepare for the worst would have made the most sense. I also think had the government imposed travel sanctions at that time, or any other sanctions, we as humans would not have been able to accept this as our reality. In an individualistic society such as ours, we often think in terms of ‘not me.’ And psychologically speaking denial is a common first step in trying to accept something outside the realm of normality.
Other countries such as Italy were also experiencing the virus ahead of us. And it slowly trickled all across Europe as well as into the United States and Canada. Fear and worry set in as the world began to take notice. The closer to us it got, the more real it became.
In mid-February I visited Ireland on a planned holiday. Everything was operational at that time and one could not look around and notice anything out of the ordinary. Life was life. We had a great time. Upon my return home, things were slowly changing and becoming more apparent that there was a need to become more cautious around others and to hand sanitize. If I was in close proximity to someone who sneezed or coughed, I would quickly depart that persons personal space for fear of getting sick. Yet, we still had only a small amount of cases in our country and were advised it would be “shut down” and soon we would have no cases. Again, misleading information from our leader.
A few days post-Ireland, I took my daughter on a cruise for spring break the last week of February. I am someone who is always cautious onboard a ship so we stayed in our stateroom balcony a lot, washed our hands frequently, and kept our distance from others. We felt completely fine about the situation at that time. We returned home healthy. In the back of my mind, I did begin to wonder if that was a smart thing to do, but in the end it was our last trip and we enjoyed our rest and relaxation.
What we now were of aware of in March is that the number of cases here in the U.S. were multiplying. Seattle was one of the first hotspots followed by New York City. It became so widespread businesses were shut down and people were told to remain at home. The media was filling our minds with fear.
March 10th, my daughter and her boyfriend left for Amsterdam for holiday. It was a tough decision they had to make whether to cancel or go. They had just arrived when the President announced a travel ban from the EU and said all must be home before Friday at midnight, in other words no more flights into the U.S. Major panic set in! I was fearful I would not be able to get the kids home. By the morning, there was clarification that only EU citizens would be banned after Friday midnight. The kids decided to cancel their trip to Belgium and remain for a night or two in Amsterdam. Little did I know, the boyfriend had a secret plan in mind. He proposed to my daughter on a canal cruise! A memorable proposal story one could never imagine in the middle of a pandemic!
As Netherlands started closing up, the kids got a flight home safely. It was not a good time to fly with the known spread of germs to be so contagious in close proximity. And once home, they were told to self isolate for 14 days. I am happy to report at this time they are still healthy. One more week of their quarantine to go.
The pandemic has progressed here to a more serious nature. A little over one week ago, here in Florida alone we had 400 cases. Sadly we are now at 2900 reported cases.
The only thing we can control is staying away from others and washing our hands!