I thought I should write a (small?) note on the virus (Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)) currently overrunning the world. Events seems to be happening so fast, that I think it will be hard to remember how I felt at various points otherwise…
Firstly, it’s been amazing how fast the world has changed. Almost exactly a month ago (on February 18), we left on a trip to Tahiti. At that point, I’d heard about the virus, but it seemed to be basically limited to China and a few surrounding counties (Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc). Honestly, it seemed like something, in Canada, we could mostly ignore; maybe like SARS.
Our first clue that this was serious was when we boarded our flight from San Francisco to Pape’ete, Tahiti and they announced that anyone who had travelled to several parts of Asia since the start of the year needed a note from their doctor, no less than 5 days old, stating that they were in good health. The airline announced it again and again as we sat on the tarmac, getting ready to leave; I got the vibe it was a brand new policy.
When we landed in Pape’ete, we were greeted by two nurses who took everyone’s temperature, and then sent us on our way.
When we returned to Canada 16 days later (on Wednesday, March 4), the health concerns seemed even more remote. There wasn’t even someone with a thermometer this time. We were asked if we had been to Iran or China in the last 14 days, but otherwise unquestioned. Our transit througuh the US was similiar. My Honey is normally scheduled to work Thursday mornings, and so 6 hours after our flight landed, she was at work, with her boss thanking her for coming in (that shift was supposed to been covered by someone else…).
We watched Italy go into crisis, heard that Iran was bad, and saw a few cases show up in Toronto (the other end of the country).
And then in a weekend, it hit home. That Friday work ended; the kids came home from another day of school. My Honey was to start a new job at a daycare the following Monday. We settled in to do weekend-y things. Sunday, though, the bombshell dropped: school were closed, public pools were closed, daycares were closed, all effective immediately. There was no lead time for any of this; personal effects were still scattered at work and school. There was no corresponding announcement about how remote schooling was supposed to work, just that details would follow. And there was no end date in sight and no attempt to even provide one. All of a sudden, most of the household had nowhere to be Monday morning….
Luckily, I was already working from home, and with my Honey (temporarily?) jobless, she was around to look after the kids. I’m not sure we would be “successful” if we were both trying to work from home with the kids underfoot….