Friday, March 6, 2020

Checking In From Coronavirus Central
In other news, spring is arriving right on schedule. 

Greetings from U.S. Cororavirus Central.

My home state of Washington has catapulted itself onto the world stage this week with eleven deaths so far from the scourge of COVID-19 (as of March 6 at 11 a.m.). Nine of those connect to a nursing home in Kirkland, a Seattle suburb about twenty miles away from me. A tenth victim died in downtown Seattle; the eleventh here in my very own Snohomish County.

Put those numbers up against the entire country, where there's been only one other death, total.

So yeah. at the moment, Seattle is pretty much Ground Zero

We've all seen the shots of empty aisles in local stores where antibacterial hand gel and toilet paper are supposed to be - last weekend, people definitely went a little crazy on the stockpiling.

I heard Whole Foods ran out of rice and lentils.

Such a Seattle problem.

But I'm happy to report that here in my little corner of the world, life rolls on more or less as usual.

Crowds at the gym, the library, the grocery store are more or less the same.

Some of my students were exposed not to coronavirus but to hand, foot, and mouth disease last weekend, so just to be on the safe side, I cancelled our regular classes and recorded instructional videos for my students instead. You can check them out on my Youtube channel if you're interested in multiplying with scientific notation or factoring trinomials.

Worship rolls on at my church, both on Sunday mornings and our Thursday evening Lenten services. Coronavirus has caused the regular coffee hours and soup suppers to be cancelled; eating together increaases risks of transmission, so that's a prudent move.

My husband reports that life is a bit quieter in his neighborhood at work since Amazon sent their employees off to work at home. But it's business as usual at his office, and while there may be a few more empty seats than usual on his commute, the buses are still running on normal schedules.

Gas stations are busy.
Target's still hopping.
Traffic still sucks.

Undoubtedly, life is continuing apace, with few visible upsets or cancellations.

Still, I'm left with the impression that we Seattlites are all paying attention, doing what we reasonably can to keep calm and carry on.

Which is just what we should be doing, here in coronavirus central.

Update: Later this same day, I stopped by the medical clinic for a routine appointment. Meeting me at the door was a staff person wearing a mask who asked me if I had come to be treated for a cough or a fever. "Nope, I'm good," I returned. She smiled and turned her question on the man who had walked in behind me. Forty-five minutes later, as I was walking out the door, she was still firing away.

Then I ran over to IKEA where the always-busy store was spilling over with plenty of customers, though it's hard to compare to what might have been happening on a non-pandemic day. As I sat in the pick-up area waiting for my wardrobe shelves to be pulled, I munched a frozen yogurt cone. After the last bite, I felt a tiny bit of the cone tickling my throat. I cleared it, once or twice, trying to project a non-coughing sound. More of a harrumph than a hack-hack. Didn't solve my problem but I dared not actually cough as that event now sets off a collective shudder through any group of people in public, and sends at least a few of them for the exits. I suffered in silence until my shelves were presented and loaded into my car. Then I climbed into the driver's seat, locked the door, and coughed to my heart's content. 

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Read more stories about life with Covid-19 here in suburban Seattle:

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