Saturday, March 14, 2020

How are all y'all doing?

This might be the weirdest week of my life.
It's weird because I'm sort of afraid to leave my house, and I really don't ever need to, but also feeling like what am I so afraid of, cause I'm not planning on joining a flash mob, getting on the subway or interacting with anyone at all if I do.

I'm going to go out for a walk.

Events are cancelled, most everyone I know is now working from home, but no one knows how long this is going to keep going. Do we settle in, build new routines, or treat this like an extended winter break?

"The duration" was a phrase from World War 2 that we may see in use again.

I can't think of any comparable experience in history short of the plague and that lasted for 100+ years. And of course the flu epidemic of 1919, neither of which involved a world economy, or "just in time" delivery for grocery stores.

It's like I have no parameters on how to think about this.
No guidelines for when to worry, and when not to.

How are all ya'll holding up?


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Day by day my friends day by day. I fear for those around (me) who are compromised. I am following the rules.
God bless us all.

Just stay away from my toilet paper or else !!!

Leslie said...

It feels like a sort of limbo -- things are ok, but they're not.

I still don't understand why people are going nuts, hoarding all the toilet paper and bottled water. Me? I've been stockpiling microwave popcorn and printer paper.

Fortunately, most writers are already experts at "social distancing."

Be careful and stay well, people!

KMK said...

A little insight from a few decades in newsrooms: this is like a really big, really bad, storm -- only with power and internet service. We will get through this, and we'll help each other. One plea: get your information from real news organizations, not social media. Tune out when you need to, but when you tune in, make it a real newspaper, radio or TV station that is held to professional standards of accuracy. It could save your life.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Our school system has closed "indefinitely". We had several employees and students test positive for the virus. I am scared. Not just from the virus - so many I know are at high risk if they catch it - but from the break down in society.

I feel like I will be ok. The school system is paying everyone and we are working from our homes and pulling up virtual classrooms for all the students. We sent them all home with laptops and so forth.

I am worried about a lot of the families in the district which don't have the means to cope with this crisis. They work hourly, not full-time, and with no child care, they won't be able to work, and they live pay check to pay check.

I worry about my daughter in New York. She is between projects and has to go out to her restaurant job which puts her at so much risk. I am worried about my brother who could not begin his new job because the company is quarantining its employees so they can't train him. He has no income. I worry about my nephew - he is half-Chinese- and has already been harassed by idiots who think somehow my 18-year-old nephew has anything to do with this illness.

My mother is in the hospital already fighting for her life. There are already bed shortages. They are building tent facilities around the hospitals in my area to accommodate COVID-19 patients. My father does not believe that this is really happening so I can't get him to practice social-distancing. He also has a hard time with technology so getting him to order the things he needs is trying.

I have no reference for this in my own life. And I am guessing that is most of us. It is scary. Too many of us read The Stand and see eerie similarities. This is not Captain Tripps. And we are doing all we can as a global society to see that it never has the chance to turn into that.

The worst problem is most with this virus will have no symptoms at all. They will just spread the virus. Hence, all the social distancing because those older people, those with pre-existing medical conditions, will be negatively impacted if they get this.

It will pass (pandemics historically last about three months). My school system was in constant contact with CDC. If we are lucky, doing these extreme measures, will make this seem like an overreaction because we will prevent the worst case scenario. The more the virus spreads the more chance it has to mutate and become worse. By isolating ourselves, we are stopping that. Viruses are opportunistic organisms.

The best way to kill a virus is to starve it. So it cannot spread any further. From what I understand, we failed to contain the virus so now we are simply trying to slow it down to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. I am sure the measures taken world-wide (closing schools, ending large gatherings) will help keep this from being as bad as it might have been.

The problem is when you avoid a disaster like this, you never know it was avoided when millions of people stay alive. You have no idea that their lives were saved because we all stayed in for a few weeks or a month. Even though the initial cost is high economically. All of that will recover. Stuff can be replaced. Lives cannot.

This is stressful. We are removed from the normalcy of our lives. There is so much unknown. Reach out, keep in touch virtually, and let us try and stay as calm as possible. Listen to the medical community (not the political community but the medical community) and do what you can. I hope everyone stays safe and secure during this trying time.

Writing helps. Reading even more. As long as you are not reading The Stand.

Rebecca Taur said...

On Wednesday my college said classes "might" go online, and now the campus is closed. My senior thesis defense will likely be conducted over skype which will be interesting, but well, at this point I'll do anything to still graduate this spring...

It feels like I'm so nervous about that, I haven't had time to worry about the actual virus yet, though I'm following guidelines.

S.P. Bowers said...

We're doing pretty well. Though I am part of the at risk group with a compromised immune system I'm not worried. We have 10 acres, lots of space for the kids to run on, lots of food stocked. Not hording, we just always have a couple months supply of food on hand cause you never know when you'll be snowed in. Not to mention we try to grow all our own food so we still have whatever is left from canning last fall. The schools sent home Chromebooks for the kids to learn on-line. Plenty of firewood to keep warm. As long as hubby doesn't bring it home from work we'll be fine.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

No library, gym, or BPL soccer on TV. My problems are minor compared to others in need or with compromised immune systems. I have a stack of books and Brit crime DVD's from the library, a WIP in revisions, and a 6 month old standard poodle in serious need of attention.

Ann Bennett said...

I've started my mornings praying for all. It is sobering to think about Covid 19. At my age and the age of the people that live with me, I do think about we could all be victims of this epidemic.

But we aren't victims. We are staying home for awhile. My big regret is not being able to help some parents with their childcare problems. Last night I observed gas prices dropping as I came home. We are in for some change.

My dad said during the worst of the depression of the 1930s; people got by. My grandfather lost everything during the depression. My dad said he felt it gave him the ability to deal with the bad in life. There is more to this story. It's why I believe in story.

Take care. I have a lot of small farm work to keep me busy. But I am breaking out my Mark Twain autobiography that I always said I would take a vacation and read. The time is now for me.

Take care my friends. We are very lucky to be in a position to hoard toilet paper. My best friend and older brother passed March 2nd of this year. It was a total shock and due to a heart attack. We don't know what the future holds.

nightsmusic said...

I have some lung issues and a cough that has been going on for a year, not to mention my mono is flaring though I'm past the contagious stage. So I'm living as normally as I can. Going to the grocery this morning with Thing 1 though I don't know what we'll find. Hubs is still going into work since he doesn't have a job that can be done from home. IMSA moved the Sebring in France to sometime in September or October and also canceled the race that runs two weeks later, I think in CA. But there are other engines that need finished, so he has to be there. Thing 1 works in the medical procedures unit at the hospital and people are still coming in for those. Like she says, wash your hands well and often, don't lick your neighbors, you'll probably be okay.

I do wonder though in a few months if we're going to find a lot of mummified corpses in their homes, surrounded by a years worth of toilet paper because they horded that rather than buying food...

Aphra Pell said...

Lots of love to you and your family EM.

I'm sort of ok - I have plenty to do with teaching face to face (Aus unis aren't closed yet) while getting ready to switch online whenever it comes. I am worried about my mum and my in laws who are 75+ and in the UK (it's really not great to hear the PM say "you will lose loved ones earlier than expected" when talking about his mitigation strategy of letting the virus spread to achieve herd immunity). But they have all agreed to protectively self-isolate so... fingers crossed.

What I'm really not doing well with as a disabled person is some of the background discourse. I was already feeling battered by eugenics-gate last month (on twitter and in the uk PM's office appointing a eugenics fan as an advisor), and now its ramping up again.

Some of it is explicit eugenic BS - bloke on twitter today "is it really so bad for the UK if we get rid of the old and sick"; journalist in a major uk broadsheet a day or so ago "from a dispassionate economic perspective there is a mild economic benefit to culling the old and sick".

Then at the same time we have the news that Italy is having to choose to let older people and people with disabilities / co-morbid health conditions die as they don't have capacity to treat all the severe cases. I understand their logic in the decision-making, and respect that the doctors are in an impossible position with no good outcomes. And I doubt my horror at the situation is greater than that of anyone else possessing human empathy.

However, as a disabled person it is a reminder that, whatever lip-service society pays to equality and access, when the shit hits the fan, my life is viewed as worth less than those of my able-bodied peers. And that's... difficult.

Theresa said...

We're sticking close to home. Went out for some extra supplies earlier this week to make sure refrigerator and freezer are stocked. Got some library books. Worry about my elderly mother and aunt. I try to restrict my news reading to reports from doctors and scientists. I, too, keep reminding myself this isn't The Stand. But I think about 1918 a lot.

I'd been hoping to volunteer to get groceries for and/or check on the elderly in town, but I've caught a cold so I won't be leaving the house until it cycles through and I know that it's just a cold.

Stay well, everyone. And stay at least virtually connected to those around you. Good thing we have writing and reading to keep us occupied and diverted.

CynthiaMc said...

This is The Last Normal Weekend for Central Florida. On Monday the theme parks close til the end of the month (ish). Someone in the same county as our hospital died (contacted the virus on an Egyptian river cruise). A couple more passed away in the county my boss lives in. We are supposed to have our hospital inspection in the next couple of weeks so that and virus prep have everyone at work stressed, though we try not to show it, even to each other and certainly not to our patients.

Son is visiting friends in the UK and is due back at the end of the month. Part of me wants him home yesterday, part of me wonders if he's safer there than here (seems about equal right now).

The girls have a long-planned trip to Washington state in April. They haven't canceled yet. My niece, who lives there,is keeping us posted.

We're still having Mass tomorrow but no wine, no hand holding during the Our Father, no kiss of peace. Stations of the Cross, classes,etc all canceled. I suspect our choor director will hang on til the bitter end as we're working on some challenging music for Easter.

Keeping everyone in prayer.

Kitty said...

E.M., Stephen King: Coronavirus isn’t as serious as ‘The Stand’ pandemic

Our grandson lives in NYS and goes to Jacksonville U. in FL. and is on their varsity skeet team. The team was supposed to compete in a skeet shoot in San Antonio this month, but it was cancelled. My daughter had plane & hotel reservations to fly down and watch him shoot. She spent hours on the phone trying to cancel the reservations but never connected with them. So she called her credit card company to stop payment and was told no-can-do. She’s out all that money but the hotel and the airline aren't. To make matters wor$e, she’ll have to pay for his return to NYS so he can continue his semester online.

Personally... My husband had surgery last week so we're sticking close to home anyway. The most recent account I've heard was our area has no confirmed cases. Our schools are still open but all activities are postponed or cancelled. Our daughter and her husband are both nurses, and another relative is a prison CO, so I do worry. The doctors in-the-know believe this is a seasonal virus, like the flu, and will be over once the warmer weather has kicked in.

Lennon Faris said...

Not worried for myself. I am for my older friends and family.

My mother in law has no sense of self preservation and is apparently hosting a funeral luncheon today for a neighbor, despite having lung cancer stage 3 herself. She says she can't back out at the last minute. We're trying to knock some sense into her.

Thinking of everyone here.

Timothy Lowe said...

My wife made the most sensible declaration I've heard:

"Let's be sure to get to the library before it closes."

Too late, folks. She's taken!

Richelle Elberg said...

I feel very fortunate that I have worked from home for years. As long as my sons don't bring it home, and they too aren't out and about too much. Youngest just had 4 wisdom teeth out last Monday, so he's been home. The older is like me--sticks to home most of the time anyway. He works in a factory environment where I hope most of his co-workers aren't big globe-trotters. But you just don't know. My work sent everyone home as of yesterday. It's a consulting firm, so we can all do our work fairly easily, but the economic impact on our clients could be measurable over the next few months.

Nice related post on TKZ today:

NLiu said...


Go and look at some flowers, or a tree, or the clouds and the sunshine. Take a brisk walk. Your body and brain need it, and you can't get coronavirus unless you stand within a few feet of an infected person for several minutes, or they directly sneeze in your face. You are at no risk taking a walk around the block. (Just wash your hands after you've touched the buttons in the elevator and the door handle, 'kay?)

Trust me! I've already been stuck at home for more weeks than I care to mention. I did not work out taking walks = healthy thoughts until I had descended to the point where wanted to wallow in despair all day. Every day. And then I went outside. And I was SO much better. And so can you be :)

Kaphri said...

My husband and I are an older couple, but we are in good health. We'll be staying at home. There's more to do here than out around town, anyway. The school system has shut down until mid-April and the university is going online. I do worry about the parents without childcare and the hourly wage earners. (Trust me, unemployment insurance based on a food-servers income is a joke.) They will be hardest hit and least able to afford it.

I also worry about my grown children and my three-month-old grandson, because his mom starts back to work at the end of the month.

Here's the thing. This is rocking our planet in new and different ways. We are suddenly aware of how interconnected all our systems really are. Will something good come out of that? Being a pragmatic pessimist, I doubt it. But one can hope...

Christina said...

As others have said, writers tend to be great at social distancing. I personally have the social needs of a cactus. And yet the thought of a potentially long period of isolation feels pretty overwhelming. I think I will take walk in the fresh air later. I find scent calming, so I stocked up on essential oils (peppermint, lavender).

Hang in there everyone

Matt Adams said...

We had Spring Break lined up for a week from today, with my daughter going to Peru on a trip. My wife and sons headed to Disney World, and me getting some actual writing and work done here on the ranch. None of that is happening.

My daughter's true love is softball. Season suspended, can't even practice. My favorite time of the year from the time I used to watch with my dad is March madness. Mass is cancelled -- just typing that seems surreal -- and I spent a large part of yesterday looking for paper towels (if you find yourself in need, try drug stores). Meanwhile my mother, who is 75 and has smoked her entire life, is determined to go help at the assistance place she volunteers. Because, she says, someone has to.

But more than anything else, I'm amazed how how little guidance we're getting. I'm not making this political, but we need someone to tell us what the guidelines for social distancing are, how long the virus lives in the body, how long it lives on surfaces. From what I can see, the country is doing a wonderful job of doing what we've been told to do, but no one is actually telling us what any of that means. My sons' school trip to San Diego in June was cancelled two days ago -- are we expecting this self-isolation to last three months? Can my kids have friends over? If not this week then next? Will I be contributing to the demise of society if I go to the movies Will I be contributing to the demise of society if I hermitize and not spend money on those workers who depend on it? It's not uncertainty as much as it is ignorance, and the more I try to find answers, the more confused I get.

Megan V said...

I'm not so much worried about myself or my family getting COVID then I am about its economic impact.

So many people out of work and not being paid.
Schools shut down and parents unable to find/afford care for their kids, and kids potentially losing the one or two meals a day that they get regularly.
The stock market going haywire and destroying retirement funds.

I'm proud of my sister(who works from home) who has already reached out to her community to let them know she's here to help with food/childcare/ etc.

My parents and brother/his gf are in the midst of visiting me (their big convention was canceled midway in, something they'd been looking forward to for some time, but they're near enough to pop by and say hello to me. It's brothers bday today, so trying to make it special.)

it's a strange strange time.

Katja said...

I'm scared, too. Like EM. I don't have so many people to worry about, though. Hang in there, EM and everyone else!

I haven't been exposed myself, I don't think. Maybe having OCD has made me overreact, but also we have mainly stayed indoors when the cases in the UK only started to rise slowly. I made us buy a stock of food and toilet paper before the news came out of people doing this.

The closest case has been 100 metres away. I'm also scared to leave the house.

Another dilemma:
Fiancé and I were supposed to get married, FINALLY, this summer. On a bloody BOAT. A cruise, yes. Married by the captain.
We booked that a year ago, paid $700 deposit, so it could all fall through now.

Stay safe and healthy, Janet and everyone else!

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Our church is hosting public worship tomorrow then taking a break until April 5. The majority of our regular worship attenders are 70+ and they've been encouraged to stay home if they or a spouse is immune-compromised. Tomorrow's worship will be modified: no passing offering plates, maintaining social distance recommended by Minnesota (we're on Wisconsin border near Twin Cities), and we had already modified "Greeting each other" a few weeks ago. Now I'm looking at ways to be creative with pastoral care, some type of worship online, and devotionals/worship by paper for the non-digital people.

I worry most about the vulnerable--elderly, immune-compromised, people and staff in prison systems or detention camps, and people who live pay-check to pay-check without sick pay or health insurance (hourly retail and hospitality workers, small business owners, artists).

My hope in the midst of all this is? A global (some smaller communities already do this) shift from an economic structure as our master to an economy that serves people. What can I say? I'm a dreamer and a writer...

Pen Name said...

I am currently in the public school system, and our state has shut every school down for two weeks. My family and I are at home, facing fourteen days of no school, no major events, no extracurriculars, and minimal contact with other people. I'm using this as an opportunity to write, but even as introverted as I am, I'm nervous about the upcoming days,

Everything is a risk-reward situation now. I've washed my hands three times today. Visiting my grandparents, going out of town, or even going to the movies are all risky and we've been debating them for days. It's insane how fast everything changed and how fast things could still change. Our world won't be the same after this, and as a young adult, this is my first experience with such a huge event. My history teacher says they'll write about this in this history books one day. Being part of history is almost exhilarating, but scary as well. I don't know what's going to happen, I don't know how this story will end, and that's what's really frightening to me.

I'm not worried about getting sick. I'm worried about my friends and family getting sick, and the world never being the same again.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Living on 175 acres in the middle of nowhere with a herd of horses for company is looking pretty good right now.

While not downplaying the seriousness of this virus, I am more concerned with how fear and misinformation is creating so much reactionary behavior and, in turn, hardships and struggles where there shouldn't be.

Like ripples in a pond.

Claire Bobrow said...

It's seriously unsettling to see entire shelves at the store emptied out. Like Lennon, I'm worried how our most vulnerable fellow humans will weather this crisis.

I'm doing my best to search for beauty in the madness. Stacks of library books. Inspirational music and art. Support for local businesses, food banks, etc. I saw a news item out of China that booksellers and food delivery services have teamed up.

Be well, everyone.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Aphra Pell, your comment was the one that spoke to me today.

I despise the utilitarian philosophy that "logically" a society should not "waste" resources on those who cannot "contribute." I despise it all the more because on the face of it, it sounds like it makes sense. Until you start to examine where it leads. Sure, maybe there's a "mild economic benefit" ... at an infinite moral and human cost.

Every person goes through periods in their life when they cannot "contribute." Infants. Toddlers. Pregnant women and nursing mothers. Those with chronic illness, during flare-ups. The old. The more we think about it, it makes no sense that our life in only considered valuable when we are in peak physical and mental condition. This is such an inhumane philosophy. Human beings are valuable just because they are human. Period.

Furthermore, what constitutes "contributing" something? Surely there is more to than just not being vulnerable. Infants are absolutely critical for the future of society. So are young mothers. The old, usually, have already contributed, a lot. Doesn't that count? Gee whiz. And you can't tell me that just because you are disabled (your word), you are not contributing anything of value. Let's start with your comments on this blog alone, then move on to your work, your loved ones, your writing ...

But the bottom line is that no one should have to demonstrate their actual or potential "contribution" in order to have their life be considered valuable. That's just such a messed-up philosophy.

Anyway. Sorry about the rant. This topic really pulls my chain. My whole first novel was written to explore this, where in a post-disaster situation, a group of refugees must decide whether to take in a paraplegic man who doesn't speak their language.

Dena Pawling said...

I live in SoCal. You know, the place where it never rains. It's been raining every day since last week Tuesday and the 10-day forecast shows rain every day until a week from Wednesday. This is TWO WEEKS of straight rain. Every morning I wake up to ants all over my kitchen trying to escape the water. We've already had a plane crash with fatalities, and several swift-water rescues with one fatality.

Almost all the school districts and colleges in SoCal are closed for two weeks. One co-worker in my office has elementary-age kids. My boss is allowing her to bring her kids to the office [if they're not sick] to help out and earn some spending money, or conversely she can stay home with them and work remotely. We're still working because the courts are still open, at least for now, altho with modified procedures. On the plus side, Los Angeles traffic has been wonderful.

I'm doing the grocery shopping for my 76yo mother so she doesn't have to go out. Thankfully she [and I] have enough toilet paper and bottled water to last at least two weeks. We're making sure we don't get too low before looking to restock.

My disabled son's basketball season ended early and he's walking around wearing his team jersey and looking very sad. He doesn't understand "pandemic". He does understand "everyone is sick and it's raining", but he's still sad.

I had the flu at the end of February. Came back to work and learned that a client had passed away. He had been hospitalized several times in the past few months for "breathing problems". Was never tested for coronavirus but his family is suspicious. His son is now responsible for handling his affairs and he lives in Europe. Simply arranging for disposition of the body took forever. And he couldn't attend any services.

My husband's 98yo grandmother was placed on hospice yesterday. Doctors give her a few days max. Two family members were able to get to her before the facility where she lives went on lockdown. Those two folks can leave but they won't be allowed back in. No one else can come to be with her, so they're staying.

While I understand precautions, I don't agree with hysteria or not allowing exceptions for circumstances that truly can't just wait two weeks.

KariV said...

What Megan said.

We practice what might be considered extreme hygiene anyway as a carry over from when my daughter was a micro-premie. I believe that these sanitation precautions have kept us in good health overall. We also have the ability to isolate, so we're hunkering down.

But I worry about the economic impact of all this. My brother and his wife are already out work indefinitely. I worry for the people who have no safety net. I've been blessed and don't have personal worries, but even close members of my family won't be so lucky.

I pray for wisdom to know how to respond and how to be a help and a blessing to others during this time.

Stay safe everyone.

Barbara Etlin said...

So far, my husband and I are doing okay. We're what would be considered medically "elderly" (but we don't feel or look it). He's got a compromised immune system because he had his spleen removed to (unsuccessfully) treat another condition.

Until now we've been going out doing our normal chores but we reassess the situation daily. Today we decided to mostly stay home and to wear gloves whenever we leave the condo.

One advantage of me being a reader/writer/book hoarder is that our book supply will last us for years.

On an optimistic note, I noticed that a couple of our outdoor planters have tulip leaves coming out! Looks like an early spring!

Laura Stegman said...

As a publicist for two arts organizations in my non-writing life, although I certainly do write as part of my work, I have spent the last week alerting media about cancelled and postponed performances. I've also cancelled one by one every appointment that I have in the coming weeks, other than one or two. One of my group meetings that I attend on a weekly basis has gone online through Zoom, and we had 80 plus people the other night, so even though it wasn't an in-person thing, at least we still connected, which is so important during these challenging times. My husband and I decided that we are going to take a walk everyday for the duration, which is something we don't often have time for. And, on the most positive note of all. I suddenly have plenty of time to work on my sequel and promo for my debut novel. I'm also very grateful for delivered groceries and other delivered things, as well as for all my online resources including this wonderful blog. There's always a bright side, although my heart breaks for everyone who's ailing as well as for those who will suffer the severe Financial effects of all of this.

Beth Carpenter said...

We're fine. Only one case in our state so far, but families are just returning from spring break, so I'm sure there will be more. They've told the students not to come back to school next week, and my son, a teacher, is to "work from home" Monday, although they haven't yet said what he is to be working on. Church will be virtual the next two weeks at least.

I'm concerned about my 93-year-old mother in a nursing home, and other elderly. I'm concerned about the economic effects. I'm hoping all this will stop the spread, and soon. I'm grateful for those tending the sick, working on vaccines, and sharing with their neighbors.

S.P. Bowers said...

Megan V, yes! We'll get through the virus. The recession that will probably follow will be MUCH harder.

LynnRodz said...

I'm still here taking care of my 97 years old mum. We don't go out at all. My brother does the shopping for us. (Yesterday he couldn't find toilet paper anywhere, it's a good thing he stocked up the week before.)

What I'm worried about is getting back home to Paris. My husband says they may have to quarantine everyone there soon like in Italy. If that happens, will I be able to fly back? I think it's the unknown about the future that concerns everyone more than the actual virus. How long before we return to our normal way of life? Will we return to normal? Will there be a new normal and what does that entail?

The scary part is it's out of our control so we have to take it one day at a time and that's all we can do. Stay safe everyone. Like others have said, Janet, if you're getting cabin fever, go out and breathe in some fresh air. It'll do you good and take a few breaths for me while you're at it.

BJ Muntain said...

I live in a retirement residence, with folks much older than I am (some by 40 years!) I came down with a nasty head cold the end of February, and have been self-isolating since. Even a head cold can be harmful to the aged. Luckily, I can have my meals brought up to my room. I'm okay here, but I've run out of chocolate. I may need to make a late night run tonight.

BJ Muntain said...

Here is some hopeful news out of China. Chinese grandmother, 103, recovers from coronavirus after being treated for less than a week

They've seen a steep decline in new cases, which means the worst is probably over there. Researchers are working on antiviral and vaccines. Yes, this virus is serious, but humans are a resilient breed. We'll get through, and people will be saying it was a hoax, like they do about Y2K, not realizing it's all these protective measures that kept it from becoming truly devastating.

Elissa M said...

Since I've found it impossible for me to not touch my face, I've made a protocol of using my dominant hand for touching objects and my other hand for touching any part of myself. Of course, I wash my hands frequently.

Though I'm in a higher risk group (asthmatic, approaching 60), I live on 20 acres at the Edge of Nowhere, so social distancing isn't difficult. However, tomorrow, hubby and I are venturing 110 miles to the Big City for our monthly grocery shopping. I don't know how successful the shopping will be, but we're going to take every precaution to avoid contracting or spreading any diseases.

I am trying to remain optimistic since my attitude is about the only thing over which I have complete control.

Leslie said...

I've been stockpiling paper napkins from coffee shops, fast food places, etc., and stuffing them in my pocketbook. When I leave my apartment, I take out one and use it to push the elevator buttons, open doors, and pretty much touch anything in public. Sure, I feel like a 90-year-old granny, but it seems to work.

Also, if you want to make sure that you're thoroughly washing your hands and don't want to sing Happy Birthday, you can choose a song and have instructions put into a hand-washing instruction chart I've printed out the chart with instructions set to "Rapper's Delight" and taped it right next to my bathroom sink

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

We're pretty well hunkered down here in the north. I'm on four acres with no neighbors and just us on our driveway. And acres of forest and wetland around us. We started being extra careful as this began because we have two 91 year olds in our next house to look after. Canceled husband's PT appts and my Tai Chi classes, because we've both seen people being sick who should have stayed home.

We slowly stocked up a few weeks ago, cat food and supplies. I just got an inquiry about a rental for the airbnb for a week, I'd been wondering if we would get some city dwellers wanting to head to the mountains.

I was buying some Kleenex at Staples yesterday and the check out guy told me this was all started by the Democrats to get Trump out of office. yup. (what I should have said is, don't you think it's the Republicans trying to shut down Chinese factories and bring manufacturing back to the U.S.?)

And what is really awful is the story in the NY Times about the guy with 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. Our local Home Depot said people had been coming in and buying supplies to resell on Ebay. Yesterday people here were stocking up but calmly. The toilet paper was gone and canned vegetables were low but plenty of other supplies. Staples had lots of Kleenex.

I am very concerned about other family and other people but am fine staying home for a while. I'm just hoping it won't be as bad as I read.

Timothy Lowe said...

They closed schools here while we were out at a local brewery -- very sobering stuff. I think we may be shut in for awhile. We are going to self-quarantine mode. Time to work on that manuscript.

Emma said...

It's eerie and very weird. I've lived through 911 in NYC and this in some ways is more disturbing. I'm a consultant and work from home anyway, but my one and only client is experiencing a severe drop off in sales, so who knows what's going to happen.

My son's school closed and the H.S. musical he's been practicing for three months was cancelled the day before opening night. His school completely dropped the ball on the whole chromebook thing and now there's an entire district without school and without a clearly communicated plan for study. He will be graduating this year, and we booked a trip to the U.K. a few days after graduation. No idea what will happen with that.

And in some great, but also, oh-no-what-is-going-to-happen news, I got an offer on my novel from a publisher! Yipee! My agent said, let's let the other editors/publishers know before we accept. Aaaand... silence. Nothing. From anyone. I can only assume that editors and everyone else in publishing is self-isolating and not really making decisions right now. But... hotdamn. I would feel better if I'd at least signed the contract before this happened.

Oh well. Patience, positive thinking, and hikes with my family. I'm in a good place.

Sending good wishes to everyone.

Michael Warner said...

Just a couple of notes.

Take heart that society is still strong. This is how society is supposed to work in an emergency. Society is surviving this. This is not the zombie apocalypse.

It’s OK to go outside. The problem is with gathering in groups. The problem is not associated with breathing fresh air and feeling the Spring sunshine. Daffodils do not spread the novel coronavirus.

Yes, our current administration did drop the ball, and is still fumbling about with it. But they are being forced to face reality now. The stock market drop has been your friend in making this happen. Embrace the drop. Eventually it will spring back.

I feel deeply for those who are sick or who have lost loved ones. Yet I continue to be certain in my optimism that this pandemic will pass.

Karen McCoy said...

Hang in there, everyone! Here in NorCal, most universities and colleges are going to online-only starting next week. The schools here in Sacramento County (as well as surrounding counties, including Placer) are out for the next few weeks also. As a librarian at two community colleges that have also ceased face-to-face instruction, I may be spending a lot more time at home in the near future.

The hubs and I were planning to go to Japan in April. Now, we're trying to get a hold of the travel company that is holding our airline tickets for ransom (they're really backlogged, so it's not their fault), so hopefully we can either get the trip postponed or our tickets refunded.

Sending good thoughts for everyone on the reef and beyond. This is a stressful time, but this reef helps keep me afloat, and tethered to stable land...

Colin Smith said...

We're all doing fine. I work from home and we homeschool, so our lives aren't too disrupted. Three of my kids work at a residential home, and since one of them just returned from DC, they've all been told to take a couple of weeks off. They're bummed about that, but understand and are dealing with it.

I know others are feeling this more than us, and you have my prayers. In particular, I join my prayers with those praying for the people on the front lines of the fight--the healthcare professionals and those under pressure to get test kits out and come up with a safe vaccine. Y'all are awesome. Thank you! :)

Last thing: Please please please can we (i.e., everyone across all media and government) stop politicizing this. Yes, mistakes have been made, some by our (i.e., the U.S.) government, and some by players beyond the control of our government. November is still 8 months away, so there will be plenty of time to point fingers after the fact. Right now, can we concentrate on getting good information out, keeping safe, and making the most of the many blessings we still enjoy? Thanks! :D

Craig F said...

So far nothing has has fallen apart for me. I am in design mode for my next project, so am spending a lot of time on the weird auto-cad I use.

I worry for the paycheck to paycheck people because so much of the world has been shut down and what started as two week thing has been expanding.

This entire state is going to be hurting for a long time. Spring Break is a big thing here and it got cancelled. Other things are that almost all companies rely on parts that come from China and those parts aren't coming. That is causing even more layoffs. Hell, a friend in Kansas City got laid off because the paint for Corvettes comes from China and is gone.

Hopefully things will stay civil because there are going to be lots of people climbing out of financial holes when this is over.

Brenda said...

Doing well here. My 82 y/o father caught a different flu a month ago, which landed him in ICU with me as nurse’s helper for three weeks. Back on his feet, two days home, and he had an allergic reaction to a new prescription. Back in hospital. Then a fall/summersault out of bed when a nurse wasn’t quite quick enough. My family is spelling me off but it’s 24/7 care.

The goal is to get him home this week and then hunker down for a time to avoid anything new until he’s stronger.

On the plus side?

Extraordinary medical care—we are so blessed.
Family that helps—even his crazy sisters. I’m convinced he’s recovering faster because he wants to get away from them.
A sense of humour.

The man was as weak as a puking cat a couple of weeks ago when a technician was trying to do a heart ultrasound.
Dad, whispering: Did you find one?
Technician, smiling: Yes, sir, you have a heart.
Dad: That would be...a great my ex-wives.

You just gotta love the guy.

Betsy said...

I want to read every single Query Shark entry on the blog, as instructed. I've read a few of the easy-to-find recent ones, but darned if I can't find #1. The archives start in 2003, but all I see are people talking about how great the query-shredding entries are. Clearly I'm missing them. I feel dumb asking, but how does one FIND those early ones? I want to start with #1 and work my way up. Why can't I find it? Can anyone help a chum out? Thank you!

Casual-T said...

I just arrived at the venue for tonight's gig in Amityville, Long Island, about an hour outside of NYC. Usually Saturday evening traffic is horrendous around these parts, but not so tonight. I guess that's something positive to report. This so called social distancing is what my life usually looks like. I love solitude, and gladly choose it over socialising any night of the week. I might have chosen the wrong profession after all... Stay safe, everyone, and most importantly heed the 2 simple words written on the cover of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (which I hold near and dear to my heart). Don't Panic.

Linda Shantz said...

I'm grateful I'm relatively anti-social so social distancing isn't an inconvenience for me. The horses say "hi" by the way.

I'm grateful my income won't be affected by this.

I'm grateful for being Canadian, because IMO we're ahead of the curve with proactive measures. And oh, did you know a group of Canadian scientists have isolated the virus, which is the first step towards developing a vaccine?

I'm grateful for a degree which I might not use to make money, but which lets me be rational about the whole thing. This situation isn't a surprise to me. My epidemiology prof talked about the inevitability of such events twenty years ago. And following suggested protocols is about more than you or me, it's about The Big Picture. Slowing the spread. Making sure medical facilities have room to treat those who need care most. Protecting those most vulnerable.

In the immortal words of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, DON'T PANIC!

It's Pi Day today, but I made a Guinness cake with Bailey's cream cheese icing instead. I'd share it with y'all, but, social distancing! :-D

The Noise In Space said...
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The Noise In Space said...
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RebeccaB said...

Well, at least it's a good time to get some writing done.

I'm not worried about the illness itself. If I get it, I get it, and I can only assume I'd recover--just like if I got anything else. I still have to go to work, no matter what (I'm a first responder). But I worry about the fallout from everyone else panicking, the economy from all the shutdowns, and I worry about regular people getting through with schools and businesses closed. But we WILL come through this and when we do, we will come out smarter and better prepared for the next thing. And there will be a next thing.

Reminds me of Kevin Bacon's character from Animal House, telling everyone to "Remain Calm! All is well!," while everyone runs around amid chaos. If we all keep a cool head, we'll be fine.

Kae Ridwyn said...

I'm okay, as are Hubby, our kids, and our parents... waiting to see if they'll close the schools here in Australia and then the inevitable HUGE effect that will have on our society. There's nothing to compare that to. Nothing.
I spoke with my older brother (hunkered down in New York) yesterday, and Skyped with my younger brother (in London) this morning, and both are okay for the moment, so there's that. I like what 2N's said; day by day.
Oh, and Janet, I'd agree with NLiu. Talking a walk to appreciate the sunshine, the breeze, the whatever? Equals healthy thoughts. But maybe keep away from crowds, especially if someone's coughing...

Stephen G Parks said...

I’m in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We’re on our second wave of Covid-19 cases. The first wave, from China, was pretty small and seems to have been contained. There were about 40 cases in total from January to mid-February, and 35 have already recovered. The second wave, which started this month, is much tougher. The numbers are higher, and the vector of the spread is not as clear, making it harder to contain.

Between those two waves, we had a change of government, and the new people aren’t as communicative/transparent as the previous. The government has been aggressively contact tracing, testing, and discovering cases. We have to hope that this new government is competent and diligent.

So far my institution hasn’t cancelled any classes. Mosques in this Muslim country are still hosting prayers, although local churches and Hindu temples have stopped or moved online.

I’m in an odd position, myself. I had open heart surgery January 28, and have been on home recovery since. I’m not considered immune compromised, but my sleep patterns are shot and my stamina is low. Exercise, good food, and vitamins are the message of the day. My wife, a medical professional, took leave to look after me. We’ve been social distancing by default, except when I’ve needed to go to the hospital for wound dressing, physiotherapy or we’ve gone on grocery runs.

The malls are empty. We went through our first phase of panic buying in early February, so stores have had time to restock (except masks, hand sanitizer), but another round of panic is imminent as people get scared again by the news from Europe and the US. I’m expecting Indonesia, a country that makes a “U” shape around Malaysia, will become a hotspot. When that news breaks, our lives will become more difficult for the weeks and months to come.

I wish you all well.

KDJames said...

I'm not particularly worried for myself. I'm an introvert. I enjoy staying inside, by myself, with only the cat and my anxiety for company. I listen to the precautions and think, "Oh, so just keep doing what I'm already doing? Cool." I pay attention to world news, so I've been gradually -- without adding to the panic or shortages -- stocking up for a few weeks now. I'm fine.

I'm worried about my son, who works with dozens of varying people every day in an industry that isn't likely to shut down. I'm worried about his wife, who is a public school teacher (and thank all the gods that our governor wisely already closed all the schools here in NC).

I'm worried for my daughter who is five months pregnant, and for her two-year-old daughter, my precious grandchild. But MOSTLY, I'm worried about my son-in-law, her husband, who is an MD, a hospitalist, an attending physician at one of the top hospitals not only in the state but in the world. They are well-funded and well-equipped and will definitely see the worst of the COVID-19 cases once they begin. He's an intelligent and compassionate person and he will work himself to the point of exhaustion and despair to care for those patients. So will his colleagues. And it will destroy him when it gets to the point, as it has in so many other countries already, when he has to decide who to treat and who to let die, because resources are too scarce to handle a medical emergency of this scale. Because people wouldn't fucking stay inside.

I worry about all the people, some of you here in this comment section, who don't seem to understand the concept of "exponential growth." Who think this virus is like the flu (it is not, and it's at least 10x more deadly by conservative estimates). Who don't seem to understand that NO ONE has immunity to this virus. Who think it's no big deal to venture forth to an event or to lunch or the store. Who think, "It can't happen here. We're not like them, we're safe."

I worry because we don't have even minimal testing available here in the US, so we have no idea how widespread this is.

Am I being an alarmist? Am I scaring you? Damn, I hope so. Go read this article which has lots of math and graphs and really great explanations (and no, I'm not going to link; it's late and I'm tired and grieving the loss of a dear friend today to fucking cancer and you can just copy/paste):

For those of you who won't read it, here's one quote from it:

“If you’re still hesitating because nobody is showing symptoms, just realize 26% of contagions happen before there are symptoms”

Janet, I say this with all the respect and affection you know I have for you: Stay the fuck inside. That goes for all of you. I don't care how bored or antsy or confident in your own invulnerability you are. You're wrong.

Take this seriously NOW -- before it gets worse, and it will -- so we don't have to mourn for you later.

KDJames said...
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KDJames said...

Well, hell. Apparently my sense of responsibility (and genuine concern for all of you) is going to make me expend the effort to link to it anyway: HERE

Kitty said...

People in our area are depleting grocery shelves within hours, and the schools throughout the state (NY) will be closed as of the 18th, but thank God our 5 o’clock Mass yesterday was still well attended. We haven’t had wine at communion this year (at first due to flu), and we don’t shake hands, and the holy water font at the entrance is empty. But they’re still going to Mass.

KDJames said...

Ann Bennett, several hours and 50-some comments after I first read yours, I regret that I forgot to say: I'm so very sorry for the recent loss of your brother. Sending virtual hugs your way.

Aphra Pell: You are not invisible to me. I see you and you are far from worthless.

Stephen Parks: Sending all strong healing vibes your way to recover from surgery.

Maybe now I can get some sleep. You all take care.

Stacy said...

That guy is now under investigation by the Tennessee AG. You can check the article author's (Jack Nicas) Twitter feed for details.

Julie Weathers said...

I'm holding up fine aside from the media ginning this up into the Black Plague, the Spanish Influenza, the End of the World all of which has my 89-year-old mother terrified and I am pissed off about it.

Does anyone remember this mass hysteria about H1N1? No, me neither.

The total stupidity of people wiping out grocery stores hoarding toilet paper and fighting over it like a pack of animals boggles my mind. I am going about my life like a rational human being or as rational as I ever am.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I would like to ask a favor of this mazing community of Reiders.

For all of you who are young and healthy, for all of you who are convinced that the media coverage is overblown or politely motivated please take into account those of us who are listed at risk.

All I do know is that if I get it I die.
If my granddaughter gets it she will die.

You may believe it’s all bullshit but to many of us well informed, aware and at risk folks we depend on you nonbelievers to at least humor us and do as you are told. Respect us. We are not throw aways.
And like I said in the very first post of this comment thread, stay away from my toilet paper or else.

Irene Troy said...

I hope Janet and you folks will forgive me for somewhat hijacking this thread. I have a chronic health issue that does affect my immunity. Like everyone, I do think about this a lot of worry about doing the right and smart things. Going out and buying 5000 rolls of toilet paper sounds like the very wrong thing to do! However, there is something everyone can do that will make a difference, not just for others, but for ourselves.

Food insecurity is a huge problem in our country, not just during this crisis, but every day. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable, but when people are not being paid, the need for food programs rises dramatically. I help operate a food program in my community and we have seen a steep rise in the numbers of people needing our help. If you are wondering what to do with yourself because you no longer go to work daily, consider getting out and volunteering at your neighborhood help center. There are many jobs to be done that do not require you to interact directly with the public. Obviously if you are immune compromised, stay home. But if you are of average health and feeling pent up and anxious, getting out to help others can be a huge boost to your confidence and sense of community. Even if you do not feel comfortable leaving your house or do not want to be indoors with other people, there are ways to help. Call your neighborhood services and ask what they need. If you have means, you might order groceries online for delivery to someone home bound or even visit that person via phone.

Just remember: fear is a great enemy in times of crisis. Often the best way to fight fear is to be active and to help others who may be struggling.

Kregger said...

Ohio here, doing fine so far. I'm in healthcare. My suppliers have rationed our masks to 50-70% of normal. I will have to close if we don't have barrier controls in place as mandated by multiple federal government agencies. Meanwhile, on eBay, a box of fifty type III masks is going for $2995.00! I don't monitor inventory pricing, but I guarantee the previous pricing was at 1-1.5% of that price. Thank heavens the seller supplies free shipping.
Unlike many here, I've lost all six of my parents and siblings to various diseases.
To Aphra Pell, eugenics be damned--full ramming speed ahead!

Megan V said...

Carolynnwith2Ns and KS James,

No need to fret on my account. I do take this seriously but I also need to manage my anxiety—and that’s a fine balance.

Fortunately, outside of work, social distancing is my norm. (As in I hide in my house and hardly leave)
At work, I will still be around people but I take as much precaution as possible. (Which was common practice just because of the environment I work in)
And as for the fam visiting? well, I figure that keeping them holed up in my house in my little town for the rest of duration of their vacation is better than them running around one of the largest cities in the US. Less people exposed the better.

I’m not trying to be glib. I recognize there’s an impact other than a monetary one, but in terms of people in my close circles, it’s the economic situation that’s striking them hardest right now.

To everyone-stay safe and be well.

Remember your cough pocket and your twenty second rule. I have my own version of Ice Ice Baby-and I’m fortunate enough that people have gifted me plenty of soap Over the years that I’m probably set for life.

Panda in Chief said...

Not much to add here. I live in a house in the woods on 5 acres. I work at home. For the last two or tree weeks, my only outings have been to the PO and grocery store. At least I can go outside and garden to blow off some of the excess isolation steam.

I share my hand washing song, if anyone needs a new song:
(To tune of Teddy Bear's Picnic)
Picnic time for grizzly bears
the little grizzly bears
are having a wonderful time today,
Catch those hikers unaware,
as they have a hiking holiday!
check their packs for cuppycakes,
If there are cuppycakes, we'll never have any cars!
We'll lick the frosting off our paws
As we go home to bed
Because we're full little grizzly bears.

You're welcome.

Katja said...

KD James said: "Because people wouldn't fucking stay inside."

I think in general, at the moment, I would agree with this, except for when it's REALLY necessary. Like going to buy some food. I think a walk without contact is also fine & becomes necessary if this is going to last for a long time (because we all need to stay sane).

But what I don't understand: there are STILL PACKED pubs here in my town, in England!!! Last night, the disco across the road was playing loud music. I find this IRRESPONSIBLE.

The WHO has announced that HERE, EUROPE, is the epicentre. And people are ignoring the spread and go out and dance. THAT boggles my mind. It's like "I don't care. *I* am not getting it. And if I pass it onto to others... oh I'm not thinking about that."

I'm waiting for this government to ban unnecessary gatherings. We all need to do it like China has done it.

Stacy said...

I'm not doing well, to be honest. Experts expect the rate of infection to double every three days. The US is currently slightly exceeding that. Harvard estimates the rate of infection to be 50x the reported numbers. In roughly a week, we might see ourselves become Italy in terms of an overwhelmed hospital system, and my sister's hospital just LET GO of a bunch of nurses. Our city is basically on lockdown, which I am glad for--it's necessary--but as a nation we really needed to cancel EVERYTHING three days ago. My business is down, and the hospital wants to talk to my sister on Thursday. My fingers are crossed it's just to transfer her to the other nearby hospital in that system.