A week ago, I traveled from Denver International Airport to Madison, Wisconsin for my mom’s 90th birthday. Did I worry that I may not be able to purchase hand sanitizer? I should have been since people were already stockpiling. Did I worry about the threat of catching the coronavirus or COVID-19? Not any more than worrying about what garden variety nastiness I might catch anytime I navigate the packed security winding line of doom. There were only nine cases of coronavirus in Colorado and most were diagnosed in the mountains. Instead, I worried that I might forget to pack something, leave something in the dryer, that my broken big toe would yelp after walking a couple of miles. Most of all, I worried that Mom’s friends and family might choose to stay home from her celebration in light of the outbreak.
This isn’t to say that I don’t take the coronavirus seriously. I do.
I understand that it is three to four more times deadly than the influenza-b, I endured earlier this year. That was rough. It is far more contagious, more severe and can require hospitalization and ventilators since some patients feel like they are drowning. Most importantly, it is killing the elderly and those with health issues. My mom turned ninety. That’s elderly. Sorry, Mom! She doesn’t think of herself as elderly.
I don’t want to carry a virus that could kill others.
The day before I left, my husband, Danny, stopped at our local King Soopers to pick up hand sanitizer. They were wiped out. Great. Panicked consumers bought more than they would need for a two-year quarantine IF they ventured outside. All because VP Pence said everyone should buy enough groceries to last two weeks. TWO WEEKS. Not TWO YEARS. It was so frustrating. No toilet paper, no alcohol, no bleach. No flu medications, no Coldeze, nothing. I’ve fought off colds all winter with the zinc in Coldeze.
Why are people stockpiling when others may need to buy ONE package of toilet paper; ONE pack of sanitized cloths; ONE preventative bag of Coldeze? By the way, Coldeze only works for the common cold.
I imagine boxes of unopened meds being thrown out when they expire next year.
This isn’t armageddon, people. Nor is this a time to throw your pointy elbows out and fill your cart with water. WATER! Our water supply isn’t in ANY danger. OMG!
Sure, Colorado has declared a State of Emergency. Do you know why? So our state can get federal assistance for at least 30 days. It can be renewed after that. This assistance will be used to compensate those infected with the virus while quarantined. Thank you, Governor Polis! Colorado has one of the first drive-through testing stations too. Cool!
The problem worsens if people like me who travel can’t find disinfectant. If I had the virus, coughed, and wasn’t able to use hand sanitizer immediately, I would spread my germs around. Good thing, I was healthy.
What am I supposed to do if I can’t buy toilet paper when we run out? You really won’t want to shake my hand.
So next time you go to Costco, or your local grocery, think twice before you load your cart. Buy a wide variety of dry goods. Leave something on the shelf for those who are out of food or have to travel.
I’m glad I missed the freaked out frantic rush for bleach and rubbing alcohol while panicked consumers multitasked and tapped on their phones, ordering F95 masks online. I was focusing on my Marie Kondo packing routine.
Truth. I hate handling those grimy bins at the airport. I’m not OCD but sometimes I use gloves to pump gas. I tore the house apart looking for some cute baby blue gloves I bought for Courtney a long time ago.
That’s when one of those worries came to fruition. Running late to leave for the airport! Why was I wasting my time looking for baby blue gloves? And where was my hat? Did I lock the back door?
Danny and I got some looks when we arrived at DIA wearing winter gloves, but the few people who wore masks and latex gloves didn’t give us the hairy eyeball. I saw three mask wearers in the entire airport. One on the way back home. By the time I showed my ID held in my bare naked hand, I had tucked the gloves back into my backpack. What was the point? I used hand sanitizer provided by the airport and washed my hands for twenty seconds once I arrived at the terminal.
It seemed a lot quieter than usual. There was a super short wait in security. The plane, however, was packed.
The Seventh Generation household sanitizing cloths, I found under my sink, did a splendid job of killing viruses and bacteria. (Thank God, I bought them a few weeks ago.) I wiped down my tray table, my seat belts, and then shared the wipe with the lady next to me who didn’t have any.
Everyone showed up for my mom’s birthday. Pretty amazing and a testament to her friendships. After she blew out the candles, they stayed for a piece of cake. No worry about germs in that crowd. They shook hands and hugged.
By last Saturday night, there were only two reported cases in Wisconsin. Now there are six. When we left our state last Thursday, Colorado had nine cases, now there are thirty-three. Every day is a shock. My mind is having a hard time processing all of it.
While waiting to fly back to Denver on Tuesday, people stood in tight clusters in front of the gate. I wondered if anyone was sick. Probably. Once seated on the plane, the flight attendants didn’t seem concerned. That helped me relax.
A baby in the seat ahead of us, coughed the entire time we were flying back. Oh, well. I hoped I was immune to whatever she was battling.
Despite what you are hearing in the news, no one is being tested for coronavirus after flying to Denver, at this point. I read a spa announcement that they were asking employees to self-quarantine after flying out of state. We just flew in from another state. It hasn’t been suggested to the general public to self-quarantine after a trip. Who knows what they will say tomorrow…
Along with many universities and schools across the nation, CU called off regular classes. Starting next Monday, only online classes will be taught. Major events in Boulder hang in the balance. It’s not a matter of if they will be canceled, but when.
I have an active imagination and had talked to my family many times about what to do in a disaster. Everyone would head to the mountains. The mountains have diagnosed cases of coronavirus too.
Is it safe to ski? We have a family trip planned. Will we have to cancel? Do we stop eating in restaurants? Do we make plans for the summer? Do we stay home or live our lives until further notice? It is so unsettling. I didn’t sleep well last night.
I would love to write about how impending isolation, loss of control, and a bleak immediate future feels, but we are all feeling the same thing. Right?
And how am I feeling two days after walking through the petri dish of what is otherwise known as airports? So far, so good. Tree allergies are high in Boulder, Colorado, so my sneezing isn’t from an oncoming cold, I hope…
Are you worried about coronavirus? What precautions have you taken? Are you planning to travel? Have you seen Courtney’s baby blue gloves?
Update: I wrote this on Thursday, March 12th.
A lot happens every day. Cases are still on the rise with most not being reported. At this point, I’m not going out unless it’s to hike in the fresh air to help stop the person-to-person spread in Colorado. That’s why I stayed home from the mountains.
My friends who are skiing said the resorts are empty. That’s a good thing! The sooner we contain the virus, the quicker we can go back to our normal lives. Keep in mind that packed grocery stores are adding to the problem. Buy a book. Read blog posts. Listen to podcasts or catch up on movies. Now is the time for Hygge!
Updates from the WHO (World Health Organization)