We all watched in shock and horror as COVID-19 seeped its way through the world. At first, it seemed like something out of a Sci-Fi novel. I watched intently as China stood up purpose-built hospitals in 10 days. Ten days to build hospitals. Let that sink in. That should have been the eye-opener for me. The only government that had any insight into this virus was building hospitals in 10 days. But, it wasn’t the eye-opener that it should have been. I marveled at the worker-bee mentality of the Chinese people. I was in awe of their organization and speed. I also watched YouTube videos of hazmat-suited Chinese Army soldiers confining and quarantining people against their will. I understood the magnitude of a global pandemic, I thought. I just didn’t shuffle those thoughts into the part of my brain that I use for real life. Instead, I watched the world like I would read a novel, intently but with detached fascination. In the back of my mind I knew that it would get here, but that’s like knowing that you will find the next level in the video game. The full weight of the situation was yet to rest upon my shoulders.
On Saturday March 14th, I received a work email that outlined that we were moving to a ‘work from home’ model. I had been prepared for that. As a Team Lead, I had received a heads-up that it was coming. I also knew that, in time, government workers would stop coming in to their offices, and therefore my work would slow down. Perfect. So, I hoped, that I may even be able to get the team to catch up on some long dormant items that I like to promote (cross-training, documentation, etc). For the last week, I have been working from my kitchen counter. I moved my monitor, keyboard and mouse downstairs from my home office and attached them to my work laptop. I do like working in the kitchen. The fireplace is on, I have some soft music playing. It’s perfect.
Yesterday, the cleaners came by for the last cleaning appointment before the pandemic hits us. Miranda took some extra precautions in disinfecting door handles and flat surfaces. Thank you Miranda.
After experiencing shortages, many grocery stores have begun to implement special policies and procedures. Many items are now subject to rations (limits in the quantity any one person can purchase at one time). Many stores are also curtailing the amount of people that they are allowing in to the store in the mornings. The first hour of operation is for seniors and those with compromised immune systems only. That’s when the store is the cleanest, therefore there is less chances of our most vulnerable being infected. These are very practical, and needed policies. Another concern is that those on fixed incomes can only shop as their assistance cheques come in. Since may of us can shop at will, there has been concerns over what will be left when the assistance cheques arrive in mailboxes.
I was reading an article earlier this week that discussed COVID-19 symptoms and infection mitigation strategies. One of things in this article was a link to the UK Health Ministry definition of those most ‘at risk’ for the virus. It was then that all of this started to hit home for me. Sitting coyly within the list, below diabetics and above pregnant women, was those with impaired spleen function. I had my spleen removed in the late-sixties after being hit by a car. I had also had a collapsed lung during the same event. Add to that four decades of smoking, and I have managed to put myself on the endanger species list. The smoking alone means that I not shocked to find myself ‘at risk.’ While it’s not shocking, it certainly is sobering.
Also of note is that a couple of weeks ago, as the pandemic was breaking in Asia, I ordered three N95 masks on Amazon. They should arrive soon.