Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after will seem inadequate.—Michael Leavitt
For the moment, there is far less chaos than a lifetime of apocalyptic and postapocalyptic fiction have led me to expect. This is a good thing. Sort of. I am disappointed that another trope has been shattered. No cities were surrounded by the military, sterilized with nuclear weapons, or set on fire.
It’s not all good, of course. There has been the inevitable dismissal of all we are doing to slow the spread of COVID-19, keep our health care systems from being overwhelmed, and save the lives of our seniors as nothing more than overreaction or a media frenzy. There was new terminology to learn, like presumptive positive, which refers to a test sample that has tested positive by a state health service lab, but not yet been confirmed by the CDC itself. There was also the overlooked state of testing, which led to a false sense of security: Almost no one was being tested, even if they had been exposed to COVID-19 and exhibited every symptom perfectly, the lack of available test kits meant many such people were rejected from testing, and continue to be rejected even now. (I know it’s shocking and unprecedented, but President Trump is lying to you.)
And, one must not forget the actions of our Very Stable Genius in Chief, who disbanded the National Security Council’s Pandemic Response Team in 2018, or his repeated attempts to reduce the budget of key CDC sections responsible for emerging and zoonotic diseases.
On Thursday evening we got ready to hunker down. Market basket, at the nearly-empty time Naomi and I normally go—Thursday evening at 8:00 pm—was Saturday-morning crowded. Toilet paper and bananas had disappeared. But the staffing had been ramped up, and people were amused and polite, as is typical for our neck of the woods. When I got home I ordered some devices to be used instead of toilet paper.
Friday was a prearranged work-from-home day, while Veracode tested an “all-employees-working-from-home” scenario. There were few problems. On Sunday night, we received notice that mandatory working from home would be in effect for the next two weeks.
Humor is a typical fallback. I’ve remarked several times to David, whose severe anxiety keeps him inside at home almost all the time, “Look! We’re all David, now.” My kids have repeatedly quoted, “Oh, so now you’re interested in what introverts do for fun.”
Tonight we’re trying a long-distance game of Pandemic.