Wash Your Palms and Quarantine On

(Wash the rest of your hands, too! Especially between your fingers, the backs of your hands and your thumbs...they tend to get forgotten.)

As with the rest of the world, we are social distancing. None of us are sick. I repeat, we are all fine! But like everyone else, we are following the expert advice to stay put until things get better.

As of this writing, Switzerland has 2,200 confirmed cases of Coronavirus. This number is reflective of the fact that they haven't been testing everyone with symptoms for several weeks now so I fear the number of actual infections is far higher. We know of one family where one member tested positive, but they didn't test the rest of the family despite all living under the same roof from time of exposure, onset of symptoms, and then the positive test result. The family had gone about their daily lives until the positive test result of the one member. They have now been in self isolation for just over a week.

Switzerland is in the top 10 of countries most affected with Covid-19 along with the US, Germany, and many other bigger European countries. Given the size of Switzerland and our proximity to Italy, this feels very real for us. For the latest info from the Swiss government: swissinfo.ch

On Friday, 13 March, the government finally announced that schools would be closing until 4 April. That date is the beginning of our spring break, so Maureen and I won't be returning to our brick and mortar school until 20 April. In the meantime, we are enjoying distance/online learning/teaching.

Joe on the other hand, works to maintain machines that produce life saving products. While most of Roche are telecommuting, Joe and a few of his colleagues will be rotating shifts on-site, with no two knowledgeable colleagues there at the same time to minimize cross contamination that would leave production without its vital support. So he works from home today, at the facility tomorrow.

Home work time.

We normally go grocery shopping on Friday nights as it is not too crowded, the stores are open a little later, and it is usually well stocked as the store readies for the throngs who shop on Saturdays.

Not our normal scene last Friday right after the school closure announcement:

Fresh produce department....
Want 3 rotty limes?

...creepily empty.
Even the fresh, refrigerated meat section was empty:

 The canned and dry goods were still readily available. The whole scene was weird. 

And of course, there was no toilet paper at any store we've visited in the last 48 hours. We actually are running low...

Picture taken today, still not a roll in sight.

But know that there were tools in the store if this turns into a zombie apocalypse:

Joe will be ready!
UPDATE 17 March: The Swiss Authorities have implemented new restriction with the closure of all "shops, restaurants, bars, entertainment and leisure facilities". It is interesting to note that along with grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks remaining open in Switzerland so are BAKERIES! I love this about the Swiss, they've got their priorities right - baked goods!

BOLD PREDICTION: So, knowing what I know about humans and previous historical events where people had to stay home, I predict in 9 to 10 months there will be a bump in the population worldwide. And I predict some of these new babies will be named Corona or Covid. AND, when these kids are in the 13 to 19 age range, we can call them 'quarantines'. See what I did there?

Today's poem is my best attempt to capture my anxious heart as we deal with our new reality:

the mood locally,
and internationally
feels heavy,
and uncertain

humanity is both
untethered and
unnerved as
we wade through
the uncharted territory
that is our
new normal:

we humans are
brought together
and kept apart
by a virulent pathogen 
reminding us that
we are all mortal 
therefore we have
a responsibility 
to keep one another
regardless of age
or medical history

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.