Family Chronicle: COVID-19

“The real winner of this pandemic are the nation’s dogs, who are experiencing unprecedented levels of People Being Home”

If you’re reading this far enough in the future, a bit of context may be needed.

As SARS-CoV-2 entered the United States a few weeks ago, we collectively looked at the ongoing experiences of China and Italy and jokingly compared it to Captain Trips.  Meghan and I studied the history of the Spanish Flu looking for parallels and worst-case scenarios.

The lessons learned from 1918 are being applied by health officials right now, in an effort to avoid a healthcare-system-crushing pandemic.  We can’t avoid contracting the virus, that is clear, but perhaps we can prevent everyone from catching it all at once.

In the middle of last week schools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts started closing as a preemptive measure.  Many businesses did as well, including my own.  A few did not until they were ordered to. This all mirrors the experiences (and failures) in other countries that were hit by the virus first.

dogs experiencing unprecendented levels of humans being home

As I write this, the governor has ordered all schools closed for at least three weeks.  Large gatherings are prohibited, originally capped at 250 people and now capped at 25.

“These gatherings include all community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions and any similar event or activity that brings together 25 or more people in single room or a single space at the same time.”

— Governor Charlie Baker, March 15 2020

The ban also prohibits eating at restaurants (take-out and delivery are still allowed).  By extension that essentially closes most bars, since you can’t take drinks to go.  Bars garnered a lot of bad press over the weekend as people noted lines “out the door” at many downtown Boston establishments.

So basically we could go out if we really wanted to, but there’s no where to go right now.

Grocery stores are still allowed to be open, so people can buy things eat, but the doomsday preppers have effectively cleaned the shelves.  Stores have struggled to keep essentials in stock, including (oddly) paper products like toilet paper, kleenex, and paper towels, as well as the true essentials that never spoil, like bread, milk, and eggs.  Meghan witnessed someone buying five gallons of milk on Saturday. It’s like snow is coming.

french toast alert system updates for corona virus

Some businesses are instituting, or are relying on, work-from-home policies; unfortunately others, especially service-oriented jobs, are sending people home without pay.

I’m fortunate that I can work from home.  We’ve cleaned out the office so I can get real work done, and made a spot for Butter to curl up.  Meghan’s situation is a little murky, but so far as we can tell she will continue to be paid for the duration.

The kids are starting to get remote assignments from school.  I expect the pace will pick up now that a longer, mandatory stay-at-home order is in place.  Some schools in harder-hit areas have stayed open because they support homeless and needy children, providing much-needed meals and warm places to wash up.

Baba has been asking for advice on what social events to attend.  (answer: zero.)  My own parents have continued to live like nothing has changed, though they’re a bit less social than Baba.  All three grand-parental-units are in multiple high-risk groups.  Connecticut has been less affected by the outbreak so far.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll come through without contracting it.

Christmas Choral Concert (CCC)

It’s that time of year again: Beta’s fifth grade class concert.

Beta, smiling
By accident, I managed to snap a good photo of Beta while everyone else was looking away.

The concert was pretty good overall, but the real highlight was a kid in the band who was responsible for banging a cowbell (more cowbell!).  He was way in the back with the rest of the percussionists, and half in the shadow, but he was the most enthusiastic member — and his timing was spot-on.

Grade Five School Concert

Alpha played a significant part in her school concert, singing the opening of a song with a small group of students.  She sang well – she may have a future in chorus.

Alpha and five other students sing the opening to a song during their school concert
Alpha and five other students prepare to sing the song opening during their school concert

The rest of the concert was well done, too.  The usual mix of kids that sing with the group and kids that stand there and look around.  Alpha was in the former group.  (I was almost always in the latter group.)