Wednesday, March 18, 2020

My Coronavirus Timeline

I thought I would share how things have been unfolding in my life. And if anyone is reading this and wants to share their personal experience....I'd love to hear.

I'll start with Valentine's Day weekend.

We flew to Memphis Tennessee with my sisters and their kids, and met up with my parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles for my Aunt Esther's memorial service.

We had an amazing time. It was almost magical. I wish I had the words to describe it. It was just like the bonding-gods were in full force.

I don't know.

I do have a theory about why it happened, though.

On the day of the memorial service; in the morning, the fire alarm went off.  Some of us were awake and out and about. But others were in their rooms sleeping. They were dragged out of bed. I think maybe some were in their pajamas? Or...nightclothes at least.

We ended up laughing and talking outside and then moved to the lobby and did more laughing and talking.

My feeling is that if the fire alarm hadn't gone off, we would have probably gone off to do our own things until the service. But instead we had this extra time together, and I think that helped with the bonding.

Plus, there was a minor feeling that this might be more than an alarm malfunction—and that we might be in true mortal danger. I think those feelings help people bond. 

Anyway...that's probably besides the point. Kind of.

Back track to the airport.

So Corona was on the back of our minds. But kind of like a distant thing that MIGHT turn into a big thing. Tim is Korean, so we started joking about him scaring people by him pretending to cough/sneeze. And we said something like we should get off the plane and say something to him like So, how was your time in China?

Yeah. I know that's terrible. And later when I heard about all the racism and discrimination people were experiencing, I felt kind of guilty.  Ha ha became a bit less ha ha.

Jack had such a good time with his cousins. When my sister started talking about visiting them all in Chicago for spring break, he asked if we could go too.  I didn't want to, because I dreaded the cold weather. And I also felt bad because we had just left the cats. I didn't want to leave them again so soon.

But I did say a probable-yes, because his Texas cousins see the Chicago cousins quite often. I don't think it mattered so much to Jack in the past. But Memphis made it matter a bit, and I didn't want him feeling left out.

So I told my sister we might want to go to Chicago too if they go, so keep us updated.

Fast forward a couple of weeks later. My sister texts in a group text that they bought tickets the night before for Chicago. I was pretty annoyed that she went ahead and did that without talking to us. I thought it was something we could all do together. But when I thought honestly about it, she didn't seem overly enthusiastic about her joining them in the first place.  Or maybe she simply hadn't heard me say it. Or she forget that I said it.

Who knows....

But the good news is by then Jack had lost interest in going.  He was fine waiting for another time.  I mean it was good news for me, because I'd much rather save Chicago for when it's warmer.

Okay....I don't remember the exact dates but at some point one of my nieces went to NYC for a Jewish event.  We started showing a little concern then.  And I did think to myself that maybe it wasn't the best of ideas.

I don't think there were any NYC cases before she went or during.  But I think soon after, they started talking about it.

On March 4, my Dad forwarded us an email he got regarding an upcoming board meeting. They had all kinds of precautions outlined.  My dad described the precautions as impressive and wondered if it was the norm. 

It was NOT the norm at the time. I think they were ahead of their time. I wrote back and said I think it would become the norm in 2-3 weeks.

That weekend, on March 7, we went to an event at Jack's soon-to-be college. A crowded event.  I was a little weary about going but figured at this point...probably okay.

That night we had dinner with a cousin from California. I was maybe kind of thinking/hoping he would cancel.  I think it was still that feeling at that point that if I act too cautious, people will think I'm nuts.

I think also when I told my dad I expected it to be the norm in 2-3 weeks, I felt I was likely overestimating, and I imagined I was going to end up embarrassing myself when life goes on as usual.

Well....the California cousin did not cancel.

He kind of had the attitude of people-are-making-a-big-deal-out-of-nothing.  I mean not just an attitude, he actually said he thought....I forgot what he said exactly. But something like the virus will just disappear.
I will say at that point, Corona wasn't simply a background news event.  It was the main thing we talked about. AND.... Tim and I were starting to understand more and more that this drama wasn't going to be quickly canceled. I don't think it was the same for my parents, at that point, but I'm not completely sure.

We asked them at what point would they stop going to basketball games.  I don't think they had a concrete answer, but it was along the lines of when/if there are a lot of cases in DFW.  I don't think they yet grasped the idea of there being invisible cases—people walking around not-tested and feeling fine.

After that weekend, more and more schools started closing. Jack's upcoming-college did not yet. I told him that it's not a good idea to go to any more big crowded events.  If he wants to get together with other upcoming freshman, we can do it at the lake house or a non-crowded place.


I also told him we could still go to movies and that we should do that.


That 2-3 week timeline I gave my dad?  I looked later and saw only a week and a half passed before the world totally changed.

Tim and I talked about it and one of us said that those outlines/rules the board meeting had would now be too lenient. The board meeting would probably just be canceled.


What has happened?

My sister's family canceled their Chicago trip.

I had to tell Jack to forget the lake house idea. Fortunately, he's very understanding about all of this.

No movie theaters.

Tim stopped going to the gym. He's the kind of person who goes out almost every day.  Now he's staying home for the most part and only taking bi-weekly trips to the grocery store.

In terms of precautions, at this point...Fort Worth is behind a lot of places.  There are restrictions on how many people can be in a premise. I think they've cut occupancy rules in half.  But places are still open, and people are still going about their normal lives.

Well....that's where we are now.

I think things will get worse and then better...someday.

I imagine in a week or so, the whole country will be shut down.  I mean no schools or restaurants or bars opened. I think it will be groceries only.

I'm with the people who are saying this will be a few months not a few week.  I think it might actually be a year.  But I think we're all kind of feeding ourselves this new reality in a slow fashion.

It's not like we're necessarily lying or trying to give people false hope. I think it's like with me telling Jack we can still go to the movie theater.  It seems like it might be possible but then you realize it's probably a dangerous idea.

Well....right now many of us Americans are probably in the this-shit--got-real phase. OR....  Life has gotten so weird. OR We feel like we're in the beginning of a Netflix series.  OR We'll have something to tell our grandchildren.  Etc, etc.

I think, sadly, in a few weeks we're going to be in the terrifying, dropping-dead phase. 

And who knows how we're all going to survive economically.  A part of me feels some comfort in the fact that we're all going through it together. with the Depression, I don't think it actually helps for it to be a group project.

On the bright side, I do think it's kind of scary/beautiful that the whole world is going through this together.  At different stages, yes.  But still.  It's like usually one city or country is going through a nightmare and everyone is sending love and concern their way.  Now we're all kind of together on this.  We can all somewhat relate to each other.

Or maybe we're not so together. I mean country-wise, yes. We all are either fighting the Corona virus or getting ready to have to fight it.

People are in different mindsets, though.  Many of us are worried and taking strong precautions.  A lot of other people still think this is being overplayed and believe it's okay to live their normal lives.  I feel these people might end up costing us quite a lot of lives.  But I don't know for sure. 

For the people ignoring the social distance rules....I guess we'll end up seeing whether their get-togethers end up spreading disease.

Who knows...

My family is not yet two weeks past the crowded event WE went to.  The incubation period is said to be about two weeks.  So we might end up getting sick from that. 

Fortunately, we've been really limiting ourselves since then. So I don't think we will have passed the virus along to a bunch of people.

But now the virus is circulating much more than it was a couple of weeks ago.  So there's more chance that a person will pick up the virus and get very sick themselves.... or pass it onto someone vulnerable.   

P.S-I just remembered something about my California cousin.

He told us about his upcoming visit to DFW in late January. The plan was for him to come to Texas and then fly to Japan for work. He then said that the Asia part might be canceled. I remember that I thought/said (not to him) that this was a bit nuts. The Coronavirus is in China! Why would you cancel Japan?  So I guess I was mostly in denial, at that point, about it spreading.  I mean a part of me imagined it might. But for the most part, I probably imagined it would be like other pandemic scares; that it would end up being less dramatic than some people expected.

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