Corona Confusion

We touched down in San Francisco from Massachusetts on a Sunday. That’s when we learned about the death of Kobe Bryant in our Uber ride back home. The news was such a damper to our incredible weekend, and that feeling of “Back to real life,” hit. You know, when you’ve been on vacation and experience that post-vacation high, and as more days pass that high dwindles down a little more and more each day until you’re finally getting back into your everyday routine? That feeling. Except I felt that “back to real life,” feeling not even 1 hour after touching down.

Christian had to get a livescan done for his coaching side-gig, so after dropping off our luggage at his place, we made the 15 minute walk to the UPS store. We should’ve called ahead, because the livescan person wasn’t in at the time. The worker explained that it’s best to call the UPS store before showing up for a livescan, since some stores only do them from certain times in the day, or only a certain worker does them. He called another UPS location that confirmed that they’d be doing the livescan service for 1 more hour. We decided to take an Uber there to not risk our chances of being late.

When our Uber pulled up, we got in and he greeted us through his mask. He was a 30 something year old Asian guy, who was very apparent about his fears of the Coronavirus. Immediately after entering the car, he starts talking about how serious the virus is. To be completely honest, I was hearing about news of the Coronavirus being spread in China, but I wasn’t thinking too hard about it spreading or getting as big as it is today. During the wedding weekend, I heard about 3 to 4 different conversations about the Coronavirus. It raised suspicions, but I wasn’t too worried about it.

Our Uber driver’s muffled voice continued through the mask. He was curious if we were up to date on the Coronavirus spreading throughout China. We said we knew about it, but weren’t closely following it. He was spitting straight facts, I knew he was reading and staying up to date with this topic.

“Did you know that ____ (insert exact amount that I can’t remember) thousand people commuted to and from Wuhan in just 1 week? Imagine all the people that have Coronavirus and don’t even know yet,” he explained.

“It’s gonna make it’s way here, watch. Its just a matter of time, protect yourself. Get a mask. Disinfect everything, in fact, here -” he reaches over to the passenger’s seat and takes out a roll of Clorox disinfecting wipes, “Can you do me a favor and clean whatever you think people have touched before you back there?”

“Oh, yeah, for sure,” Christian said casually. We each pulled a wipe from the bottle. We both wiped down the handles of the car door, and then quickly after that the whole surface of whatever we could reach of arm length.

“Yeah, after each couple of rides, I’ve been wiping down all the areas that passengers touch, just to make sure its clean,” he went on. “Especially if I hear someone do a little *sniff* I immediately wipe the car down, I’m not trying to risk it!”

It was like we touched down back to San Francisco and it was a new world. This guy was definitely spiking my anxiety. But also to be completely honest, I thought he was overreacting a little. The virus is going to make it’s way all the way over here? Really? And if it did, its probably not as big as everyone’s making it out to be. Maaaan, was I wrong!

He gave us little fun facts like how people can be carrying the virus and be symptom free for about 2 weeks until they start feeling something. Or how the infected person can feel nothing at all. All the while, in both scenarios, the infected person is still contagious. He was upset that China was initially trying to downplay how serious Corona is, and believes that America needs to learn from China’s mistakes and tackle this virus head on once it makes it’s way to the states.

“I even got me and my girl a mask off Amazon,” he said, this being probably the only thing he said that wasn’t nerve wracking.

We finally got to our destination, and we said our goodbye’s. Our Uber driver told us to keep safe and sanitize everything. I got out of the car ready to hear Christian’s view on what just transpired. We came to the conclusion that it’s something really serious in China, but maybe this guy was jumping the gun and just being a little paranoid.

We got to the UPS store in less than 20 minutes, more than 40 minutes until the livescan service was closed. We went in, “oh sorry, the employee that does the livescan just left early.” Cool, as if we didn’t just call 15 minutes ago. We were definitely back to real life. This was late January.

January 27, 2020 – Literally the day after arriving back from Massachusetts, we were back to our same routine at work. We literally left work that previous Thursday, ate dinner, chilled a little, went to SFO, caught a red eye flight at 11:15 pm, touched down in Massachusetts around 8 AM Friday their time, explored, ate, explored some more, took a 2 hour nap, went to the rehearsal dinner and ate bomb food, got back to the haunted Airbnb, prepared for the wedding the next day, went to sleep, woke up on Saturday 5 AM west coast time, 8 AM east coast time, got my hair did, did my own makeup, went to the most beautiful wedding, danced and partied, got back to the haunted house and ate pizza with the cool roomies, some who were also part of the wedding party, slept for about 2.5 hours, and was on the next flight back to San Francisco. So we immediately jumped back into real life as if we never left.

Anyways, that Monday I felt a little weird. I could tell that I had an itch in my throat, and I was probably going to have a little cold. I figured no biggy, it’s most likely because of the sudden weather changes – Massachusetts being snowy and basically a winter wonderland, and back to San Francisco where, for the most part, it’s basically a constant 60 degrees all year round. I worked the full 8 hour shift at work and then headed over to Christian’s place.

On Mondays, blog post days, I usually stay back at Christian’s place while he works out. He still felt a little tired and jetlagged, so he decided to take a rest day from the gym. I remember blasting the heater, having it facing me as I wrote. I was so cold. And the heater didn’t help as much as I thought it would.

“Its so cold,” I kept saying.

“Are you serious?” Christian said. I looked away from my WordPress app to look at him. Beads of sweat were forming on his head.

“Yeah, I’m really cold I want it hotter.” I said. It was so hot in the room he started to sweat, his shirt looking a little sweaty too. That’s how I knew I was going to be siiiiick sick.

I pushed through with the Kobe and Gigi Bryant blog post, but honestly I felt delirious. When I finally posted it, we turned on som Netflix, and I still complained with how cold it was. He begged me not to turn on the heater. When he touched me he said, “You are burning up. Your skin is so hot.”

Shortly after that came the body aches. I seriously felt like I was dying. And I was scared. I had just passed through the airport, traveled cross country, passed through the airport again, and work at a preschool. All I could think about was our Uber driver’s predictions. After a couple days of what seemed like death, my boss finally told me to take a day off and get checked. They all thought I was being dramatic when I suspected I had Coronavirus. Had this been taking place today, they would’ve believed it as well.

On my day off I went to the doctor’s. Something I never do. When I’m sick, I just deal with it until I’m better. This was a whole different type of sick. I felt like I was on my death bed. I told them that I was passing through the airport the week before, and they checked me out. Thank the universe when she said I was showing no signs of COVID-19. What I probably had was the flu. And that flu was the worst sickness I’ve ever experienced in my life. It seemed never ending. I just started to feel just “ok” after 2 weeks. 14 days of actual torture.

I recovered around my birthday, February 15th. People were joking that I had Coronavirus, but here we are a month later and it’s no joking matter anymore. I seriously take a step back and think of all of this and how it all transpired, and its mindboggling. It seems like ever since we got back to San Francisco, the news got worse and worse each day. And here we are, on lockdown.

Since January COVID-19 is all that’s been on the news. Hearing it take over China, then Italy, then slowly creeping it’s way into other countries is something I’ve never witnessed before. Yes, in my lifetime there were the SARS, bird flu, swine flu, etc. But I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime. When news broke out that COVID-19 was in the US, I couldn’t believe it. The guy I thought was trippin’ a month and a half ago was right. It made it’s way. And we were not prepared.

It’s such a confusing time to be a consumer of media right now. You watch the news, go on social media, read news articles, and you don’t know which to believe. Some are saying it’s not that serious while others are locking down and stockpiling on canned goods. What do we believe?

It has always been serious to me, while others are saying its just basically the common flu, I still feel like that’s something to fear. I’ve had the flu this year and personally felt like I was slowly dying and there was no coming out of that sickness. Me, a young adult, felt like I was on my death bed. The elderly can’t handle this.

Simply saying it’s not a big deal because you as an individual would recover if you were to contract it, is selfish. Some think having a lockdown is dramatic and unnecessary, but they’re not taking into consideration all the elderly people that will get COVID-19 and not be so lucky. Soon, the hospitals will be filled and the workers in the medical field will have to determine who gets to live and who gets to die. What a horrible position to be in.

I’ve never seen anything like this in my life – stores emptied out of food, toilet paper, canned goods, and cleaning supplies. It seriously feels like we are bunkering down and getting ready for the apocalypse. What I don’t agree with is people stockpiling and being greedy. Just take what you need, there is no need for 75 rolls of toilet paper. Having people panic buy things in big loads, causes everyone else to go out and just try to get the stuff they know won’t be available anymore if they don’t act now. That’s why shelves are empty, people that really need the toilet paper and baby wipes are out, and the elderly can’t stay out in crazy long lines for hours.

It’s just crazy when I sit and think of just 2.5 weeks ago. It seemed like every single day, it gradually got worse, and now San Francisco is on lockdown until April 7th. Last week my work was still open, and planned to stay open through all of this. As the week went on, more and more information on the spread of the virus trickled in. Thursday night my boss finally called it – we were shutting down the preschool for the next 3 weeks. I never thought that was going to happen. I’m still shocked that this is all happening.

In a matter of what seemed like minutes, we got news of the Golden State Warriors planning to play their game audienceless. Then news broke out of the NBA player who had Coronavirus, and then the NBA haulted it’s season. It all happened to fast!

My friends from different parts of the US are reaching out. One pregnant in the east coast, not knowing if she should take pregnancy leave early. My friends in Boston fighting to work from home because the state hasn’t called shutdowns yet. All I can think about are those videos and messages from people in Italy telling us to shut down asap, that they were in our position just 10 days prior. All the while, the president was making a mockery of the seriousness of this issue.

My little sister came into the living room and announced that SFSU is canceling and postponing their graduation in May. This is what many of my friends feared. Everyone is afraid and confused of what’s to come. Like me, others have never witnessed something as crazy as this COVID-19 hoopla.

It’s especially confusing because where people stand on the virus is very divided. Some don’t want to comply with lockdown regulations and continue to be out in social settings. Last night, Mayor Gavin Newsome ordered that all bars, wineries, restaurants, and social settings be shut down, effective midnight tonight. I respect the actions that San Francisco is taking to keep its people healthy.

Turning on the news is pretty stressful. COVID-19 is all you hear about. You are bombarded with footage of empty shelves, long lines, death statistics. You see the stocks declining and talks of a recession. If you thought you couldn’t be more paranoid and anxious, these last 2 weeks have proved you wrong. But what should we do?

Easier said than done, but this is when we need self-care the most. Do the activities you’ve been wanting to do – start writing that book, start reading that book you’ve been putting off, continue that scrapbook, binge watch that show you always end up falling asleep to after a long workday, do things that bring you joy.

Yes, stay connected and know what’s going on in the world, but limit your intake. If its only going to make you go mad, especially being locked inside for the next 3 weeks, limit the time you will give to keeping up with the news. Its normal to be freaking out right now. This shit is crazy! But worrying about the state of the world is just going to break you.

Amidst this Corona Confusion, just know that it starts with you. You may not be in danger, but you can pass it on to someone who will be if they contract it. I’m happy that Newsome shut down all social gatherings, limiting restaurants to certain capacities, because it may hurt financially now, but the faster people comply, the faster this virus will be gone and out of our city.

I’ve never been on lockdown, so these next 3 weeks should be interesting…. stay tuned.

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