An hour ago I noticed out the window as two people stepped out of a car in a nearby driveway and walked to the front door. Both wore what appeared to be full hazmat suits.
At least 100,000 Americans will die before the pandemic passes by; and that’s if people follow the experts’ strict guidelines. If they do not, the number could be as high as two million. Our idiot president finally acknowledged yesterday that this is not going to blow over by Easter (“like a miracle,” he claimed at one point) and he extended recommended social-distancing guidelines to April 30 — still much too optimistic a date. And today, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that the state recommendations for residents to stay at home are no longer recommendations; they are the law.
He did the right thing. People were ignoring the pleas to stay at home and were crowding the beaches, hosting parties, and hanging out in large groups. Now, such behavior can lead to arrests and large fines. (Technically, it can even lead to jail time, but nobody really thinks that’s going to happen, with all the scientists urging governments to release inmates who are at risk or who are not a threat to the community. Most inmates live in overcrowded conditions with little access to sanitation. Personally, I’d send almost everyone home and put them under house arrest or premature release, with only violent felons remaining in prison.)
In Virginia, we are told to stay home except for buying food or medicine, checking on sick family members, going to work (for those who still have work to go to), exercising outdoors, and taking care of a few other specific needs. When we do out, we must stay at least six feet from anyone we don’t live with. Groups of people in any place, indoors or out, cannot exceed 10 people. As before, restaurants can stay open, but only for takeout or delivery, and cannot have more than 10 customers at a time.
My husband Bob has been working from home most days. He had to go into the office for a few hours one day last week, and he will have to go in tomorrow as well. With almost everyone at home, he can get a parking space there (he does not normally have one) so he will not have to take the Metro, thank goodness. I have been freelancing as a writer for years, so I was already working at home — except for my twice-a-week writers’ group sessions in coffee shops, which I am sorely missing. My son barely moves from his room, though I wish he were spending more time on his remote school work and less on video games. He says it’s OK that he’s missing out on graduation, prom, and all the other end-of-senior-year events, but I think he is only just beginning to understand just how important those rituals would have been.
Yes, it sucks. But it’s necessary. Stay home, everyone! And let’s be careful out there.