COVID-19, Day 1

I’m stealing an idea from my friend Ross. He’s journaling while riding out the pandemic. I thought I’d do the same, as it might be interesting to reflect on one day.

Today is the first day of our own self-quarantine. None of us are sick, but both my wife and I have traveled domestically in the last two weeks. Since our state has done absolutely nothing with regard to the outbreak, we’ve decided to keep our kids home starting next week. The following week will be spring break, during which we’ll reassess things and decide if they should stay home longer.

My wife and I spent this morning drawing up plans. Meals, daily schedules that involve school work for the kids, plans for working while they’re home. We set up a spare bedroom as a sort of Montessori-style classroom. And we’ve started preparing meals that can be frozen and easily defrosted later this week to make mealtimes easier. It’s been a busy day.

But we truthfully haven’t been 100% quarantined. I had to take one short trip to the grocery store for a couple of things we forgot to buy yesterday. That’ll be my last trip out for the foreseeable future. I’m worried I could have picked something up while out, but I’m trying not to focus on that.

The folks in the grocery store were visibly scared. Indiscriminate panic buying was on full display. Shelves that were normally fully stocked were pock-marked with holes. Every snippet of overheard conversation involved the virus. Topics ranged from generalized worry to trying to figure out what the next hoarded product would be (one woman guessed baby formula) to full-on batshit-crazy conspiracy theories. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get to me–I bought extra oats and cereal and frozen berries myself even though they weren’t on my list. Every overheard cough made me tense.

I’m glad we’re stocked and ready to stay home now. I’m glad we have solid plans and the flexibility to carry them out. I worry about those who are not so fortunate, and I fear for what will happen to them.