|Covid-19 -- The Corona Virus|
March 20, 2020
It's officially Quarantine Day 7 ..... or 8 .... or 25.... Who the hell knows? Frankly, I'm not even sure what day it is. Friday, my husband says. OK.
All I know is, all hell has broken loose in our world and no one quite knows what to do about it. Life as we know it is forever changed.
No. This is not the plot of some movie or book -- although it has been. Frequently.
This is really happening.
There is a virus spreading throughout the world so the world is shutting down. People are being told to stay home except for absolute necessities. Travel is curtailed around the world. Businesses are shuttered. Restaurants are take-out only. Sports -- all of them -- have been stopped. Schools, including colleges, have been closed with teachers (like me) trying to find new ways to teach online.
As an amateur genealogist, I've seen the effects of pandemics. Cholera, Small Pox, Yellow Fever. My grandparents lived through an Influenza epidemic in 1918. More than 54,000 people contracted Influenza in 1918; 3,489 died. My great grandmother was a Red Cross nurse at the time, working on the front lines. But I never thought I'd see anything like this in my lifetime. As of today, we have more than 500 cases in Louisiana with 14 deaths. My former physician is in quarantine.
Well, we all are, to be honest.
Over the past few months, we kept hearing about this strange new virus spreading through the population of China. Then it spread through Europe. Then there was a case here in the USA.
The Corona Virus. People laughed and made fun because it's named for a Mexican beer, for God's sake. There were jokes. Lots of jokes.
I really didn't pay that much attention to it. I was more focused on the New Orleans Mardi Gras. Although we don't do parades anymore, I had a week off from school and my baby girl was coming home from college for an extra long weekend and her boyfriend's birthday.
We did have a small group of students and teachers who traveled to Italy over the Mardi Gras break. At first, they were told to stay home on Monday. Then until Wednesday. Then until March 16. I sent work home to my one student, who was planning to do a project on his visit to Italy.
The following weekend was my birthday! The Coach took me up to our daughter's college town for dinner and several drinks in our hotel bar. The virus was still spreading.
In between all of that, the Coach was getting started with his new baseball team at our school. I even got to cross an item off my bucket list by announcing two of the home games. I tried to be a cross between Millie in "Bull Durham" and Renel Books-Moon, who used to announce for the San Francisco Giants. And my playlist was awesome.
It was back to school last Monday, but it was a short week. Our school had its annual Arts Festival on Thursday evening so there would be no school the following day. The Coach had a game scheduled that afternoon, so we planned to go the festival after that.
It was March 12. A normal school day.
Then all hell broke loose.
The baseball team's opponent, a public school just a few miles down the street, called to say their superintendent had ordered them to cancel. All extra curricular activities were canceled. Our team still had practice.
At the Arts Festival that evening, I got to see several of my students. Many of them came up to hug me. Our principal was dressed in a Maui (from Moana) costume. But people talked about little else. It was a game of dominoes as things began to shut down -- schools, colleges, businesses, communities. One plant worker told us he had heard that the local plants would be shutting its workers inside for weeks at a time.
Things were getting scarier.
On Friday, the Coach still had a game scheduled. But the team was on the bus headed our way when their Superintendent ordered them to turn around. Cancel everything, he said.
Our team still managed to sneak in a double header on March 14 at Loranger. It would be the last for quite some time.
Everything shut down after that. All schools. All games. All practices. The NBA. The NHL. MLB. All of it. No gatherings of more than 50 people. That later changed to 10. Lora's college (and all of the others) canceled in-person classes. She came home. Church services. Government meetings. Proms. Graduations. Class trips.
Most government officials urged people to stay home. "Social distancing" they call it. Stay at least 6 feet apart and, most importantly, WASH YOUR HANDS.
So what did we do? We ran to Walmart and bought every bottle of water and every roll of toilet paper we could find. (Not us.... in fact, I'm starting to get a little worried about our toilet paper situation.) And some youngsters ran to the beach. (Not us, but only because I don't have a beach house -- YET!)
No, but we did start fixing up the back yard and the pool. We hired a youngster with a machete to come cut down the frost-bitten banana trees and clear it all out. I put up some new lights on the trees. Made lemonade out of our lemons.
No one knows what will happen next. Today some cities, including New Orleans, ordered people to just stay the hell home. NOLA has become a serious hub for the virus with more than its share of infections. Officials are trying to stop the spread and people just aren't listening. Today they got LSU coach Ed Orgeron out to try and stop the madness.
But people aren't listening. They're acting like my 6th graders just before the bell rings.
I'm also trying to figure out how to do this online learning thing. I spent all of today writing assignments for my 6th and 7th grade English students, including trying to figure out how they're going to turn things in. How am I going to grade it all?
Meanwhile, my husband is downstairs with the sniffles and a sore throat -- universally the first sign of the virus.
These are scary times indeed.
But I have urged my students to write about their experiences and so shall I. I told them that someday their kids and grandkids will be doing Social Studies projects on this event. Writing isn't just an outlet for our emotions, this also is an historic event. I wish my Grannie had written about the Influenza of 1918, what it was like, how it came to be, how she felt, how she survived.
And what comes next.