As the title hints, this is part of a series. This is the second entry around the time of the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The talk about the COVID-19 virus crept up slowly, background noise against a political spotlight that plagues the country right now. I recall listening to a political podcast where the hosts talked about a recording/broadcast from Italy, warning the world of how terribly unprepared they were. How their healthcare system was collapsing and they were overwhelmed with the sick. The hosts of the podcast commented on how the warning sounded so dire, like something out of a disaster film. Then we heard about the city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, had forced lockdown. No one in or out of town. Residents forced to shelter. A few articles started to come up, showing images from Italy, businesses closed, public places abandoned, and the few people out were in front of government buildings at a distance; six feet apart, forming a line to some government building.
“That’s so strange,” I thought. “Stand six feet apart like that? Who would do that here? I don’t see that happening.”
The closures came quickly, though not soon enough. It was sort of like evacuating the building because of a fire, but there are already fires on various floors. We should’ve evacuated at the first sign of smoke.
The plague became politicized, which is just a staggering thing to imagine in what we would consider the modern era. (future generations take note). As countries closed their borders, closed their businesses, public places, and asked people to quarantine/isolate in their homes, our country was still debating the merits of the virus.
Admittedly, it did feel like a bit of an overreaction at first, though I hoped that it was better safe than sorry. The economic impact and disruption to daily life was certainly a concern. While essential businesses/services remained open (food production, groceries, public services, and the like), it was still hard to fathom the impact.
From one day to another my routine was disrupted. While I was fortunate enough to still have a job that fell into the “essential business” category, everything else was closed. Bars and gyms closed. Restaurants could remain open if their logistics allowed for curbside pickup or delivery. Those that manage it, worked remotely via online. Governments extended these “stay at home” orders by weeks, and then another week. Before I knew it, three months had passed.
There’s been a lot of learning, we as a society, have had to learn from this event. Information about the virus’s symptoms and method of infection changed many times over. Frustration grew within the populous, frustrated with unknowns but also frustrated that previously known variables had changed. It’s the byproduct of learning about something new while trying to be transparent and disseminate information as quickly as possible. You’re doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t.
There’s nothing much else to add that you can’t find on the web. All I know is that I missed my friends and not being able to go to the gym was… depressing. I set up some basic equipment in the garage; bands, a weighted ball, and a mat. Most of my workout is body weight. It’s not the same. As governments have lifted restrictions, allowing outdoor activity and some businesses to open (with health guidelines that include social distancing and face masks), I’ve started running with a friend. It’s another great alternative from being stuck in a garage doing stuff.
NYC was hard hit, and for a while it appeared they were the “new Italy” and ground zero of the virus. While a few flare-ups of the virus dotted the country, my mother in SoCal seemed unaffected. Hospital capacity was at its lowest to the point that her hours were got cut.
And then states started to re-open. Some in phases, all with slightly different prerequisites to meet to consider “safe”; infection rates, hospital capacity, rate of spread, and so on.
The political climate created an atmosphere of distrust in the media. The severity of the virus was overblown or underestimated, depending on the source. Logic and science did not prevail and many folks eager to return to their daily lives and routine threw caution to the wind. Parties, social gatherings, ignoring social distancing guidelines and even the lack of face coverings have started to catch up. Infection rates are going back up and the projections look to be worse than when we first went into quarantine.
This was supposed to be a great year. The first quarantine was supposed to be short and effective. Science and common sense were supposed to prevail.
When our own lockdown hit, I thought it would last a month. Maybe two. I was wrong. As the year ends, we’ve been in various ‘stages/phases’ of lockdown; limited public gatherings, limited retail capacity, limited business open.
The vaccine is on the horizon but it feels as though it’s only the halfway point.
Work has kept me busy. The Long Game turned out to be a much shorter game. As knowledge of my know-how about systems spread, I was quickly snatched up and back into the IT fold. I’ve been crazy busy since, on top of being a dog owner and having started school at the start of this year. Did I mention there was also a plague?