Friday, March 20, 2020

Life in the time of Coronavirus

We are facing a global pandemic as Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is swiftly spreading. In many areas, people are mandated to stay home unless necessary to leave for necessary goods or services, and many states and countries are following suit. In the Bay Area where I live, an order to take Shelter in Place was issued earlier this week, and California issued a state-wide stay-at-home order yesterday.

In a best case scenario, people are to work from home unless leaving for grocery or medical, or to exercise outside alone, and to always default to practicing social distancing. I am fortunate to fall into this category. However many people and businesses are in crisis, they are not able to simply work from home, and it's not clear how they will recover despite the different stimuli packages that are being passed. We are most certainly headed into an economic downturn. There are many health care workers, grocery store and pharmacy employees, drivers for delivery services, and so many others that we don't see, that are enabling us to get what we need at greater personal risk to themselves and their families. My dad is a shift lead at Walgreens and has been feeling under the weather, though we are relieved to know that his symptoms do not seem to align with COVID-19. Each of us have folks in our lives to be concerned about, and we are all at risk to some degree.

These are truly strange times. This has been compared to the H1N1 pandemic that infected one third of the world's population in 1918. Although it's been nearly a decade since studying public health at university, this is one of the cornerstone events that has been imprinted in my mind as the most severe pandemic in recent history. Even at that time, I had trouble reconciling just how many people were infected and killed by a strain of influenza.

I've started keeping a log of each day, just for my personal documentation around what it's been like for me, as a person in my thirties living in the Bay Area, and as new information is uncovered every day. This is a personal account, and not intended to be a research paper or source of news, so many of the numbers listed will not be cited. However many of the daily updates will pull information from the Coronavirus Daily Briefing podcast, among other sources. I expect to post these logs once a week, probably over the weekend.

It feels surreal to be writing this. Tensions are high everywhere. The future is uncertain and we will learn more in the coming weeks. For now, we are being vigilant about limiting our exposure to the virus in the ways that we can.

Stay safe out there.

- j

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