March 22, 2020
I’m feeling a little like a modern day Josephus, a historian who lived during the time of Jesus and documented the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome. Incidentally, he mentioned a man by the name of Jesus who was attracting a lot of attention around Galilee. He even mentioned his crucifixion. He was a real time guy living in what would become a truly epic, historic part of our human history. I don’t think it’s understated to say that we are also living in epic, historical times. .
Two months ago I was considering journaling what it’s like to live through climate change. I thought that was the worst thing that we could live through. Little did I know that I would soon be living through an even greater, more immediate threat. The worst since the Black Plague. I’m not sure if that’s too dramatic, so let me do a quick fact check on plagues/pandemics to give us a framework against which to compare our current situation and death rate.
The Plague of Justinian 541 CE – 30-50 million
Black Death/Bubonic Plague 1346-1353 – 50 million (some reports up to 200 million)
Russian Flu- 1889-90 – 1 million
Spanish Flu 1918- 50 million; 675,000 in United States
Asian Flu 1957-58 – 1.1 million
HIV-AIDS – 1981- present-25-35 million
Swine flu 2009-10 – 200,000
SARS 2002-03- 770
Well, the numbers are not in yet on Covid-19 so we have yet to see where it falls in history.
Why am I, a person who detests numbers and can’t even remember my own phone number, collecting statistics on the spread of this virus?
People process the events in their life through whatever medium is important to them. Reading and writing are my mediums. Maybe I’m just processing. Maybe I’ll write a book someday about this experience. At the moment, I only feel compelled to collect data and stories and share them.
This journal isn’t mean to record just the statistics of the pandemic, but the events or incidents that were occurring alongside the illness and death. And from time to time, my own thoughts, feelings and responses to these events. Therefore, please don’t take offense at the unfiltered, purely emotional and likely politically charged comments that are my own. They are my own. You don’t have to agree and if you feel so led, you may well start your own journal through your own lens.
I started tracking on March 16, so this is where my chronicles began. Most days I charted the statistics twice a day, 6am and 6pm, but I’ve decided to post an initial assessment of the first weeks of the pandemic and then I’ll post weekly, I think.
March 16, 2020-International Panda Day
The director of infection control recommends a 14-day shutdown.
March 17, 2020 – St. Patrick’s Day
Italy reports 345 deaths today with 25,000 having the virus. I don’t think any of us really woke up to the danger of this virus when it affected China. Now that it has traveled around the world and the word pandemic became a real thing, locking down 7 million people in San Francisco and putting a halt to things like going out to dinner, taking a vacation and celebrating weddings, it’s about as real as it gets.
Today we hear that the Navy ships, Mercy and Comfort, are going to be deployed to ports on the east coast and the west coast as back up medical facilities in anticipation of the cases of Covid-19 overwhelming the current number of beds in the US. How is that even possible?
March 18, 2020
The day started with a messenger. My totem, a Red-Tailed Hawk, flew directly in front of my car today. I will have to keep my eyes open for something significant. Yeah, like the world going mad?
I received my infection control training today in a meeting room with 25 people to learn about how we shouldn’t do that. To say that we have a learning curve is obvious. We’ve never been here before. Also learned that I will likely be making less home visits and more phone visits.
Covid-19 is now in all 50 states.
Springfield movie theatre is closed. The only other time I remember that is when it was on fire.
Doctors and dentists are closing offices, canceling all but non-essential surgeries and procedures. Joe was lucky to get his shoulder surgery in before this hit. My dental work is another story. That will have to wait, but it’s not an emergency and hopefully won’t become one.
Border to Canada has been closed to all except trade.
March 19, 2020
Brussels, Belgium has gone into lockdown with 1,400 cases. Police are monitoring adherence. This certainly means that Claudia and Ben’s wedding in Brussels is not going to happen on April 26, therefore I won’t be going to Belgium. I admit to some relief. The idea of traveling anywhere right now makes me shiver. Hopefully, they can reschedule it for the fall. My heart breaks for them, though. So much work has been put into this beautiful day and it was almost here. L
This virus is a global tsunami.
March 20, 2020
Initial reports were in people over 60. Now 40% are in people between 20-54 years of age. Yeah, well that is so going to rise as the Florida beaches are packed for spring break. Kids interviewed make stupid statements like they’re living for the day and living for themselves. It is infuriating that these same kids will be bringing back a special viral gift to their home states. Those beaches need to be shut down. Now!
1/3 of the cases are in NYC. On March 3, there were 0 cases and on March 19 there are 2,950. 100% work force reduction. The impact on the global economy is staggering and will only get worse. Probably take the rest of my lifetime to recover.
California is now in lockdown per Governor Gavin Newsom.
Borders are now closed at Mexico and Canada. This must make Trump happy. He didn’t have to do anything and now both borders are closed except to trade.
Vermont, my neighboring state, and the one I primarily work in, has 22 cases. Every day a few more. One of the reasons I collect stats twice a day is because things literally changing from morning to night. It is the oddest feeling to go to sleep and the world is one way and wake up and find it’s another.
FAST FORWARD TO MARCH 27, 2020
March 27, 2020
There were 181 deaths in England in 24 hours. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Great Britain is positive with mild symptoms. Not a lot of people will have much sympathy, I’m afraid. Also positive are Prince Charles and other members of the Parliament. Queen Elizabeth has moved to Windsor Castle. Oh, and by the way, Prince Harry (can he still be called Prince?) and Megan have moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles. How did they manage that when it’s in lockdown? I guess it pays to be somebody. It seems most of their philanthropic work is based there. And she is still an actress I suppose.
The US now has more cases than anywhere in the world. NH issues stay at home orders effective tonight at midnight.
23 of 5.000 sailors on an aircraft carrier are positive. How do you begin to contain that outbreak?
In one week, we’ve gone from 19,00o to 109,000 cases in the US. As the numbers continue to rise Trump can’t make up his mind if we should ramp up efforts to fight the war, or declare the war over by Easter. He seems to have a desperate need to be some kind of resurrection savior on Easter and open up the country in spite of his infection control expert consultants telling him he can’t predict that. I love the quote by Dr. Anthony Fauci, “You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.” This is a man who knows how to speak truth to power.
512 members of NYPD tested positive. That’s how many less available first responders are available in NYC. Scary doesn’t begin to describe how this feels. It is the first responders that I worry about the most. We are totally screwed without them. Having been a nurse for over 20 years, I know how hard a normal workday can be. Now working for hospice I know how tiring it can be when more than 2 or 3 people die in a week, so when a nurse was quoted on the news as saying, “I’m not used to this much death. It wears you down,” my heart crumbled for her and for all the other brave medical soldiers in this battle. I love seeing them honored in Italy and Spain when they travel to and from their work. It’s a beautiful thing. I hope this appreciation of each other and what we do to keep our communities healthy and happy continues long past the lifespan of Covid-19
On a good note, I took a walk today. It was a beautiful day in the high 50’s with blue sky and warm sun. You could almost forget that we were in the middle of a global crisis. I’m actually doing okay. I feel like the sacrifices I’m asked to make are minimal compared to so many others. I can work from home because I have a job. So far, I have food. My kids are okay. The massive suffering I see all over the country and the world humbles me and makes me grateful for my current circumstance.
#flattenthe curve #weareinthistogether #begoodtoeachother