To say it’s been a weird week feels like an understatement.
Just over a couple weeks ago, I received a text from one of my best friends who works in infection control for three major hospitals.
Studying how to stop the spread of infection and what to do in case of an outbreak such as this is what she does. She is incredibly level-headed and in no way an alarmist. The message was straightforward and to the point. It basically said, it’s time to prepare for the coronavirus because it’s no longer a matter of “if” but “when”.
At that point, my antennae went up a bit. My husband made a trip to Costco and we decided to purchase some essentials. You know, just in case.
We put the food on a shelf in the garage and told the kids to stay away, much to their disappointment. The shelf then became known as the “coronashelf”.
A few days later, the first community spread case was announced in Washington, as well as the first death in our country. I began to realize the “when” she was talking about was beginning.
That was only a couple of weeks ago. How can that only be two weeks ago?
On Thursday, March 5, we learned of the first confirmed case in our county. School was closed on Friday and Monday for deep cleaning. As more confirmed cases have popped up in our county, the kids still have not returned to school. And I’m beginning to wonder when they may?
The world feels a little funny right now.
Some people say it’s all a hoax and media hype and others are stocking their pantries. Hand sanitizer is nowhere to be found, unless you want to spend an insane amount of money purchasing it from someone who has actually decided to try to make a profit off a pandemic – but that’s for another rant all together. And people are now fighting over toilet paper.
Two days ago, we learned this is officially a pandemic, the NCAA declared they wouldn’t be playing in front of live audiences, travel to Europe was banned, and we watched as the NBA learned a player had tested positive for COVID-19, and subsequently decided to halt the games for the time being.
Regardless of how you feel about this virus, you have to admit – things feel a little wonky right now.
We were supposed to go to Indiana this weekend for my sister’s baby shower and to celebrate Christmas – finally. And once again, our plans have been cancelled.
With more cases popping up in our county, traveling doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.
We also decided to cancel our spring break trip for next week. And I just found out the concert we were going to in a couple of weeks has been cancelled, too.
Everything is cancelling. And I’m glad.
I feel like this is what we need to begin to do as a society. Whether you are part of the high-risk group, or not – we need to take care of one another. We need to begin to make choices for the collective good.
Do I think I’m sick? No. But I can be asymptomatic and still be contagious. Did we want to see my father-in-law this weekend? Absolutely. But he’s 80 years old and has lung cancer and that just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do right now. Did we want to cancel my sister’s shower? No way. But driving seven hours from a county with coronavirus to a county without coronavirus seemed like that may not be the best idea.
Are we sad to not be traveling to Florida? You bet. But taking my high risk parents to another state right now doesn’t seem like the best idea either. They are self-quarantining. And I’m so thankful they made that choice.
Friends, making decisions right now feels hard. We don’t know what to do, and what not to do. Do we buy extra toilet paper? Can we find toilet paper at all? Do we go on spring break? Or do we stay home? How do we decide who to see? And who not to see? Do I have friends over? How do we practice social distancing and not feel super awkward?
We don’t want to overreact. And we don’t want to under react.
Today, I went to Kroger to pick up my Clicklist and the parking lot was filled with cars. I watched as person after person went in and out – some carts not that full, others overflowing. After I left, I noticed that while the Kroger parking lot looked like the parking lot for a concert venue, Starbucks was empty. When does that happen?
The reality is, this is something new. For all of us.
And it’s a little scary. We are all trying our best to make good choices for our loved ones with the information we have. Regardless of how you feel about this personally, I urge you to follow the guidelines lined out by the CDC. Pay attention to health care personnel and people, like my friend, who have devoted their lives to infection control.
Our healthcare systems have a capacity, and we need to do our best to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Let’s not be like the people in the movies who hear the scientists say the astroid is coming, but refuse to listen. Let’s make choices that are best for the well-being of all those in our country. The young. And the old. The healthy. And those with underlying health conditions.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum from “this is overhyped and everyone is losing their minds” to “I’m ready to hunker down and not see anyone for awhile” – let’s show each other respect. Let’s realize this is new – for all of us. Allow people to make the choices they feel are best for their family. Some people may think we are crazy for cancelling our spring break plans and for buying extra food at Costco – and that’s okay. Some people may think following the CDC guidelines feels over the top, but again, while I respect the choices you are making for your family, I do urge you to please reconsider that line of thinking. They are the professionals and they have devoted their careers to studying disease and infection.
And last, but most definitely not least, while the world does feel a little wonky – I continue to turn my fears and anxieties over to God. He is where I will find my peace, and my comfort, when the world around me feels like it is rapidly changing and a little unsteady. He has gone before us. He has a plan. And He makes all things new in His time. In the midst of these trying times, there will be good that comes from it. That may not always be easy to see, but I guarantee you – it is there.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9