Things are heating up in my COVID journal and I have more to say each day. I’ll group the entries to try and reduce the number of posts.
“March 8, 2020, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency to address the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon.”
“March 9, we heard that the entire country of Italy was on lockdown. I complained that many of the participants at the upcoming Shamrock Run were probably going to be coming from highly infectious Washington state. I began to get a little nervous about that idea.”
“March 10 my poster was due. The professor had emailed us saying if we felt uncomfortable, we didn’t have to go to our last class on Tuesday. Only 3 people came to my Democracy class, because of the coronavirus maybe? My Conflict Resolution class was full as usual though.”
“March 11, Trump announced a European travel ban without telling any European leaders, and US tourists flipped out and swarmed the airports. I began questioning whether my trip to Arizona set for March 25 was actually going to happen. Bill Grady (whom I was planning to visit) called me and talked about options for how I could still enjoy myself safely in Arizona if I decided to come.”
A couple weeks ago, I was talking with someone who was a former Portland State University student. She explained her major, and the two buildings she was in most frequently. She was hoping to share memories about campus with me. I asked her to describe one of the buildings so I could have a sense of where it was, and she was astonished, “How can you not know where it is? That’s a major campus building.” Well, the answer is, I spent exactly one term on campus Jan-Mar, and then there was a pandemic.
Isn’t it wild to think that as late as March 11, we knew there was a pandemic and it was shutting things down, but I was still planning to go to Arizona to visit friends? Luckily, by this time all airlines were offering a no questions asked policy in canceling flights if someone wanted to cancel, so I held that in my mind as insurance.
And the hand-washing was really quite hilarious to me. So many people began complaining about how washing their hands dried their skin, or they complained about having to learn how to wash their thumbs in addition to the rest of their hands. And nurses had to invent a strategy for washing hands long enough, by singing the Happy Birthday song while washing. It was like Hand Washing 101 going on. I shook my head in dismay to be faced with the facts of just how dirty my fellow human beings are, that a good hand scrubbing was a new adventure for them.