Blogging through the COVID-19 crisis: Update 4

It’s been a little while since I checked in (about three weeks) and I thought it might be time for an update. Honestly, the days and weeks have started to blur together for me. The individual days seem to slip through my fingers. I’ve been hoping to get into a bit of a regular blogging routine, but I am still finding it a little difficult. I can’t believe we’re in week 9 of shelter-in-place. 

I want to say, I am okay overall. I don’t have terrible anxiety or sleepless nights. In fact, I sleep pretty well most nights (maybe partly because I am still experiencing bouts of extreme tiredness every few days and fall asleep on the couch before bedtime). I exercise, I eat pretty well, and I try to practice self-care. I am wondering though if my body is holding on to some subconscious stress and tension.

If you asked me if I had found my groove working from home, I’d have to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’. While I do have a pretty good work routine set up now and actually enjoy working from home, I still don’t  “feel” like this is normal. My co-workers have told me during a recent virtual Happy Hour that the first couple of weeks were hard for them, but that they’ve settled into a routine. I mean, yes, I have to, but emotionally this is harder now than it was in the beginning. I have these moments where the gravity of our situation just “hits me”.

It’s hard to explain, it’s like I knew before, but I didn’t know until just now. 

Do you know what I mean?

I think, it partly has to do with the fact that I read and hear every day what is happening out in the world, the case and death numbers are facts and I treat them as such, but luckily, I haven’t been personally affected by the virus (yet). I don’t personally know anyone who has died from it, don’t even personally know anyone with a positive diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean that I am not affected by the news or that I am not taking the virus seriously (unlike some other people). 

It’s funny, isn’t it, how this pandemic has brought out the best and worst in people.

As previously mentioned, I’ve been limiting my news consumption and have mostly stopped listening to the public briefings, although you can’t completely escape the commentary (on Twitter and elsewhere), and then there are days where Jon will find me desperately sob-laughing and laugh-sobbing at my desk because I once again couldn’t help but listen in on one of the White House press briefings and all I can think is, please dear God, just make it stop. 

Ezra Klein said it all in his latest piece on VOX: We don’t have a president, or a plan.

Over the past two months, the US should have built the testing, contact tracing, and quarantine infrastructure necessary to safely end lockdown and transition back to normalcy — as many of its peer countries did. Instead, Trump has substituted showmanship for action, playing the president on TV but refusing to do the actual job.”

Is this scary to you? It’s scary to me.

I know that our local government is doing a better job in handling this pandemic. We are currently in phase 2 of reopening here in California. I think different states have different phase protocols, so don’t assume our phase 2 is your phase 2. 

What I could gather from our state response website, we’ll be in phase 2 for a while and expansion of reopening certain businesses will move gradually, and county by county, depending on certain criteria. Our shelter-in-place order here in Sac County has been extended until May, 22 (for now).

Dine-in restaurants can open under certain circumstances (which have only been met in two CA counties so far), but nail salons, gyms, bars and nightclubs, movie theaters, playgrounds, theme parks, festivals, sports and concert venues, and hotels remain closed statewide at this time.

As of last week, every adult here can get tested for free, regardless of any symptoms, through Project Baseline, who are setting up testing centers all over the country. I haven’t decided yet if we should get tested at this point, as we’re considered to be in the low risk group for infection as we’re working from – and mostly staying – home, but I sure like having the option now, and I know screening and testing availability are part of the reopening criteria (especially in more densely populated counties). 

In Germany, they’ve started opening things up again. Masks are still mandatory in stores and when using public transport. Restaurants are going to open next week with limited seating. Gyms and hair salons are back open, and schools have opened with different grades showing up on different days (as far as I understood from my sister). Some people are back to work at their offices, who previously worked from home.
This is what I heard from family and friends and I am sure there are regional variations on how things are handled (as there are here). And apparently, things are continuing to be pretty fluid there as well, but I do hope that the reopening hasn’t happened too soon.

This is really my only concern here, because as much as I understand that people want to go back to “normal”, I don’t think normal still exists in the way we’d like to think about it and we have to be cautious and strategic in re-entering the outside world.

 All this to say, we’re all in this together, however long it might last.

In the meantime, don’t forget to breathe.

  1. I still say that this spring has been a very happy time at home with my family, but the information out there is so confusing. My state doesn’t call it phase 1 or phase 2 but we started to reopen at the beginning of the month and a lot of stuff is opening at the end of May, including gyms and pools. Hopefully everyone knows what they’re doing.

    1. It’s weird to see that so many places are doing different things. I know it depends on the data in each individual state, but I think it’ll take a whole until I feel comfortable with a lot of things again.

    2. I am also concerned that things are opening too soon. Today’s news say that the case numbers in Berlin are climbing again. No one knows by what percentage though. And I do think some people’s behavior is questionable. Helmut Schmidt said it best: „In der Krise zeig sich der Charakter.“
      Hope it will all be good in the end.

  2. We are starting the first phase of reopening here, too. You can gather in groups of less than 10 and small retailers can reopen if they stay at/below 50% capacity – before you could only do curbside pick up at smaller retailers. Restaurants, bars, and salons open on 6/1. So they are loosening the restrictions, but I don’t really see much changing in our lives. We’ll still WFH and social distance. We get take out – I can not imagine going to a restaurant anytime soon. Maybe not for the rest of the year? It’s just not worth the risk. I would be more open to eating outside but patios were in hot demand in a normal summer and it will be even worse this summer I think? Our case counts are still increasing so it feels risky to start to re-open but I know our governor was under a lot of pressure from our state republicans.

    I do feel like I have more of a routine/groove now, especially now that I have a proper work station set up. So things feel a bit more ‘normal’ for me, but it’s still tough to have everyone at home. I’ve been training my coworkers on a new system and it’s really hard to do that remotely instead of sitting around one computer together… but we are making due!

    Testing has expanded here, too, but I think you need to be symptomatic. I have read that the test can be inaccurate if you don’t have symptoms. I wish there was a definitive way to know if you had it or not – if there was, we would be able to go visit my parents lake home… unless that happens, I don’t know how we would go up there this summer now that Paul is back in daycare as I have no idea what he’s exposed to. We’ll see how the summer unfolds…

    1. It’s a hard situation to navigate and to an extend, we all have to see what we’re comfortable with.

  3. We’re in Phase 1 here, but I think our Phase 1 is many other states Phase 2 or 3, sigh. Restaurants and retailers have been open for a few weeks, and salons opened last week. Case numbers are still up and down, although we saw a big spike over the weekend and I’m worried it’s going to just get worse.

    I read somewhere that during this time when we were all staying home to flatten the curve, that was supposed to be a time for us to work hard on testing, PPE for essential workers, and a vaccine. But none of that really happened. (Thankfully, testing has expanded more than it was.) It’s scary to be in a global pandemic with someone like Trump.

    1. Right, the lockdown was supposed to buy us time to work on testing, PPE, hospital capacity. It’s expected for cases to go up, but I am scared we’re not ready.

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