I am creating an online journal during the Coronavirus social distancing so I can look back and remember how my thoughts and actions might change during this time. This is Day One.
Saturday, March 14
A friend’s mother died, and I wanted to drop off a meal. I asked my husband if he could run to the store to grab some meat that we could grill for their family.
We had heard about the sudden rush on the grocery store during which people cleared the shelves of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and water bottle. He decided he would head to Costco to stock up on a few things and buy the meat. He got there before the store opened and couldn’t believe that people were lining up down the sidewalk outside. When the doors opened, people started running through the store!
A single file line stretched from the paper towels all the way out the front door. Workers were handing out packages of paper towels, allowing people to only take one.
Once he got home, we started trying to figure out what “social distancing” actually means for us. What would this look like for our family? What are the standards we need to create so we all know what to expect?
Can our son still go to work at the trampoline park? Is it OK to let our daughter continue with her plans to meet some friends for dinner at a restaurant? Should we still make plans to visit family for Easter?
The coronavirus still felt very far removed from us. Only 64 cases had been reported in the entire state. And yet, as I thought about it, I realized it could be closer than I imagined. I work in a small office with about 20 people most days. But because we work with people around the world, in the last few weeks, I realized that my co-workers had travelled to a total of six different countries. Some of those areas have been hot zones for the virus. It started to sink in that even though no one has been infected with the disease (as far as I know), someone I know could unknowingly be a carrier.
Now multiply that by everyone in the world. In this highly mobile world, we all are interacting with people everyday, not knowing where they have been or who they have been around who has been to another part of the world. It was starting to sink in that this isn’t just a threat to people who live far away from me. This is a real thing happening where I live.
Saturday evening, I decided to go to Walmart to stock up on what I considered essentials for an extended time of social distancing. I wanted a new game and a 2,000-piece puzzle. In great contrast to what my husband experienced that morning at Costco, Walmart was nearly empty.
People were staying home.