Misty cool day at start of March 2020 and it’s Friday but I won’t be working because the high school where I substitute is closed for the coronavirus pandemic that has everyone panicked and hunkering down at home as much as they can. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
People are getting sick and getting well or dying from it. There’s some argument about what percentage of those who catch it will be fatal cases. It seems to be mostly people who had other conditions before, but not exclusively so. But just not knowing is unsettling. And, of course, not being able to SEE germs makes it worrisome.
The TV experts explain how we need to wash our hands a lot and not touch our faces while in public …to avoid letting the virus enter the body through eyes, mouth, or nose. Also, instructions about how to cover for coughs and sneezes. I am still going out, but keeping hands clean and doing my best to remember not to put my fingers to face, and staying away from crowds (which I try to do all the time anyway) by going to the stores real early.
There are travel and immigration restrictions being put into effect and mass cleaning of buses and institutions…all of this seems to provide little in the way of safety, because the first ‘dirty’ person who touches a surface of a railing or a computer keyboard or a tabletop leaves the virus for the next lucky person to come along. So, you can clean like crazy all night and then it all gets contaminated the minute the doors open and the first humans enter the area. Outside, people are wearing masks, trying to keep their distance, and refusing to shake hands. Some goofballs are irrationally turning nasty toward Asians in general, merely because the illness started in China…so the crisis allows some among us to let out their racist tendencies. The economy is tanking because people aren’t feeling it’s safe or wise to travel or go out in places where there are other humans gathered…so not shopping in stores and relying on online businesses and delivery, not going to restaurants …getting the food delivered instead, all the while still fretting about who touched their food ingredients and had those individuals taken established precautions. Hotels have lots of empty rooms and churches are missing their faithful parishioners. Desperate people are emptying supermarket and other stores’ shelves of basic provisions from toilet paper to hand sanitizer and food that will keep. And it’s getting like the time of the zombies and apocalypse or something, although no consuming of other humans yet. Face masks are no longer available and if you don’t get the right kind, they don’t work anyway. Shipments of parts / ingredients etc. from China and other countries have slowed down so production here (where things get put together) has slowed. There are already cutbacks in hours and layoffs occurring. There are places that are having their people work from home via computers (Quilla at Amazon, for example)…but lots of other folks, who provide services have to be out in the world, possibly endangered by facing and coming into contact with the public and the possible contagion those members of society are unwittingly carrying around with them. Schools are closing. And community centers. Games and other events are being cancelled. It’s getting scary and crazy. I’m sitting here in the apartment, looking out the window like nothing is going on, calmly thinking and typing, nothing is any different, but it is. Very much so. I am thankful that we have this nice shelter and don’t really have to work if we pinch pennies just a little. Until it all ‘passes’. Whenever that is, because the incompetent ‘leader’ in the White House, just lies about everything pertaining to the crisis, gives out misinformation and crazy bad advice, and makes his people lie too and if they don’t they have to face his wrath. There is anger brewing in the populace about his clearly being incapable of telling the straight, accurate truth about ANYTHING…a fault/sin that is especially problematic in times of a health crisis like this when people are frightened and need to know what to do. Even with an out of his depth Vice President Pence put in charge (more of the political damage it would appear) there is a growing lack of confidence in the ability of our government to deal with the spread of the virus and its consequences. Also because Trump didn’t want to have any ‘bad news’ about the epidemic come out, which he knew would have a negative impact on the economy…something which he realizes would slam his reputation (even more!!!) and hurt his reelection chances … he’s tried to cover up things as much as possible. Furthermore, as a result of his previous cuts to the agencies and people who respond to precisely this type of crisis, and his general disdain for science and facts, the United States is unnecessarily digging itself out of a deep hole. We are all now faced with trying to catch up with an illness that is racing onward and around, doing its best to quickly touch everyone. Trying to get up to speed on testing devices and protocols so experts can know what the hell is actually going on…and to what level, in what places… and would then be able to adequately inform the public. Our hospitals are not equipped to deal with the major increase in people who are infected and down for the count…so it’s a frightening mess. Hence, people doing all they can to stay home and keep uninfected. I really feel for those who have to go out in it and live with the fear of being exposed and contaminated, and the all-day concern that they will take it home, pass it on to their families, or vice versa. Meanwhile the stock market is crashing every day now and our IRA investments are dropping right before our eyes. Trying not to stress about that and hoping for the best. Also we are in the midst of an election season…we are SO wanting to have a blue tsunami to throw out the Republican enablers of the corrupt, incompetent, narcissist on the throne and restore our country to what it was and make it even better. We want a government that cares again about justice, truth, the condition of our planet, and all its citizens.