Coronavirus Diary Day 11: March 23, 2020

This Time, the World is Actually Closed

How long can Americans self-isolate? Um, are they self-isolating? That depends who you ask, and where you are.

Here in the Philadelphia area, we’ve been ordered to shelter-in-place. Today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s exact words were: “Residents must stay home unless someone’s life depends on leaving.” Of course, we can make trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, and laundromats. Also, beer distributors. It’s been raining non-stop since I woke up this morning, so I imagine these orders haven’t been very difficult to enforce. However, by the time this weekend rolls around? And look, this is happening everywhere.

What happens when Americans decide they are tired of sheltering-in-place and they need to get back to work? A few might disobey the orders, then others might follow, and eventually, there’s all-out pandemonium. Do I think this will happen? No, not really.

Thanks to the media, I feel like Americans are watching the COVID-19 numbers like a stock ticker. I am guilty of this myself. So from here on out, I promise to only report the global and national numbers 3 times per week at a maximum, rather than every day. Again, I am maintaining this blog as a historical document, so there is some importance to the numbers. I may mention numbers in the Philadelphia area a little bit more, because we’re just at the beginning of this thing. So with that said, as of this morning:

Philadelphia County (my parents and my brother) has 175 confirmed cased.
Montgomery County (1 mile from me) has 136 cases.
Chester County (me) has 40.
The State of New Jersey (my other brother) has 2,844.

Anyway, I tutor English as a second language via Skype. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, and it has always brought me joy, not to mention play money. In a time when we’re all looking for things to do, I am so grateful that I have this capability. This morning, I connected with my student, Alex, who lives in Paris. He is 7-years-old. His parents are also students of mine. His dad and I have been Skyping for a year and a half. To see their faces this Monday morning made me genuinely happy.

A French doctor alerted the world to a mixture of chloroquine and azithromycin, which seems to have strong promise in healing patients with COVID-19. People are still a bit perplexed that the solution could be as simple as an antimalarial drug from the early 20th century. Clearly, more testing is needed. But as of this afternoon, at least one hospital in Paris is chomping at the bit to start using it in their ER. America is on board too. Can this be the solution? Until we know for sure, our only choice is to continue social distancing.

To that end, America says, “15 Days to Slow the Spread.” We’re on, what, Day 8? OK, this isn’t so bad. Come on, people, we can all find ways to keep busy. Personally, I have been so afraid of boredom that I’m busier than I’ve been in years.

Plus, we have great, free apps for our phones, like FaceTime, Houseparty, WhatsApp, and Marco Polo, just to name a few. We can video chat whenever the fuck we want. I have talked to so many friends on Houseparty the last few days, like friends I haven’t physically seen in years. It’s kinda nice, I have to admit.

But, you know. Today is only Monday. Kinda nice could turn into pretty shitty real fast. In the meantime, make everything amazing, friends!

The Decline of Dinner, Installment 2 (Mondays):
Homemade Meatballs
Wegmans Tomato Sauce
Ceasar Salad
2013 Amarone Della Valpolicella, Poggio Siresa, Italy


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