*This post was written on April 5th, 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic is still a very dynamic and changing situation worldwide at this time of writing. Some information posted here will become outdated as time passes, so please continue to check with your local news outlets and government agencies for more current updates about restrictions and precautions.*
It’s really easy to get caught up in all of the negatives in today’s news reports. For example, I live in Michigan, which is one of the highest reporting states for confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. Our community is only about an hour’s drive away from Detroit, which is currently a hotspot for the virus. It’s definitely not the best-case scenario for me and my family, but we definitely could have been dealt a worse hand during all of this.
Looking at all the statistics, it gets even more depressing. Here are some that I’ve been hearing recently below:
- Michigan has now surpassed 500 deaths due to the Coronavirus.
- We will be approaching 10,000 deaths in the US due to the virus.
- Stay-at-home orders are being extended while millions of Americans are waiting for relief checks.
- Unemployment in the US jumped to 4.4%, and could potentially climb to 15% – something that hasn’t been seen in the country since the 1930s (The Great Depression Era).
I’m not writing this to cause even more anxiety, but it’s important to be aware of how serious the situation is. It’s even more important to focus on the positive things that are coming out of all of this:
- The American Red Cross is using antibodies from donated plasma in recovered COVID-19 patients to help attack the virus in those who are still sick.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported only mild symptoms for the majority of confirmed cases, such as cough and fever, and typical recovery time is about 2 weeks with no specialized treatment.
- Thousands worldwide are recovering from the virus, according to a map from Johns-Hopkins University data.
- Multiple vaccines are in development across many different countries, with human trials beginning for some as soon as July. In the US, a human trial has already begun by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with the first participant receiving the vaccine on March 16th.
While it is encouraging to see this information above, it is important to note that we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot.
I am one of the fortunate ones who still have a job. I work in a warehouse that supplies a local delivery chain, so I am still considered an essential employee. My husband and in-laws were not so lucky, as they are independent contractors who perform work that is not considered essential at the moment. All of their jobs have been suspended until further notice. Meanwhile, my employer has prioritized social distancing, sanitization of equipment and work stations, and regular deep cleaning of facilities as precautions. My hands are usually raw at the end of my shift these days.
We are also lucky to have access to grocery delivery options and supply stockpiles from previous Costco shopping sprees. But it’s still kind of eerie to enter a store these days to see firsthand what is happening – there aren’t many people around, limits on milk, bread and butter have been set, and some pantry items are still elusive like sugar and some canned goods. I am very thankful to have toilet paper and sanitizing wipes in my house. And knowing how to cook things that are edible. Because takeout and delivery foods become really expensive pretty quickly.
Speaking of cooking, I’m noticing that people are banding together online to help share easy-to-cook recipes with simple ingredients. I joined a Facebook group myself, and I’m looking forward to making some of the dishes that they have been kind enough to share with the rest of the online world. If you are looking to improve your culinary skills to save some money and some sanity, definitely try reaching out to the people you know on social media to see what kinds of ideas they might have for you. Maybe they could even spare a cup of sugar. (By dropping it off at your door, of course.)
Honestly though, it’s been so encouraging to see online how people are navigating the changes to daily life, like how one guy is using his drones to walk his dog during the lockdown in his area, how food providers are donating meals to first responders, and how people are simply paying it forward during some trying times. I definitely recommend following John Krasinski (Jim from “The Office”) on his Twitter accounts – his personal Twitter account and his new account, Some Good News if you’re trying to get away from all of the depressing content that’s filling up the newsroom these days.
During these next few weeks, it’s going to be crucial to keep a positive, yet informed attitude. Social distancing and isolation really suck the life out of most of us. (Introverts and people who hate socializing, in general, are rejoicing like crazy right now, though. Really, this is what they’ve been waiting for!) As for me, I enjoy being at home for the most part, but the moment someone else forces me to do something is usually the moment when I don’t want to do the thing anymore. I don’t like other people telling me what I can and can’t do, dammit. Even if I’ve already been doing it for a while.
We celebrated PJ’s birthday on the 3rd, and while we weren’t able to do much, she still enjoyed the day with cupcakes and running around outside (within social distancing guidelines, of course). She also got to stay up late watching Disney movies over and over again while eating pizza and candy. Not a bad set up for a 3-year-old, really. Dan has been using the spare time tending to his streaming channel on Mixer, and I finally got a chance to hop back on here for an update on things. Now I really have no excuse to forgo writing for months at a time. Seriously, I really appreciate you guys sticking around after months of nothingness.
Let me know if you’ve got any positive things or stories to share below! We’re all in this together. Believe it or not, many lives have already been saved so far by following these crazy precautions. And to all of the first responders and fellow essential employees, I salute you and I am praying for your safety and sanity for the next few weeks.
Stay safe out there and wash your damn hands!