A professor at the University of Virginia encouraged people to journal their pandemic experience. So, here it is. The new “pandemic” tag. Welcome.
Because yes, this is a thing now. While we are months into the existence of COVID-19, it was declared a pandemic on March 11. On March 13 we had our first 3 cases reported in Manitoba. The province of Manitoba declared a State of Emergency on March 20.
I am at the end of week 1 of social distancing, or not-sick-person self-isolation. Like many with chronic illnesses existing with degrees of immuno-compromise, as a person with severe asthma, I’m staying home. Even if you’re generally healthy with no underlying health conditions, we’re pleading with YOU to #StayHome, too. We aren’t learning our new vocabulary terms “social distancing”, “self isolation” and “self quarantine” for nothin’, here.
Unlike many, my post-pandemic, social distancing, self isolation life is perhaps not too distant from my regular work-from-home, very remotely from my coworkers who also work from home but in BC. Except post-pandemic life is regardless different. I don’t leave the house. I could go for a walk, but like, what if I see a cute dog I want to meet but how the hell do I stay six feet away from their human then? This is a problem of social distancing, and I lose self-control around doggos. Also, because nearly everyone else is social distancing, I’ve already had 2 virtual game nights, spent St. Patrick’s Day watching the Dropkick Murphys play to a camera crew in an empty venue (the 17th was the l went out: I had to get a Shamrock Shake from curbside McDonalds), and got to enjoy Drew Brown doing a basement acoustic concert.
Unlike others who are newly working-from-home and feel they have all this newfound time not lost in their commute, my days are the same except for watching the morning press conference from Justin Trudeau at 10:15 and then the one from the Government of Manitoba around 11 each morning. The pandemic news cycle is exhausting, but try as I might, I can’t avoid looking all damn day even though that’s what I advise others to do. I’m a news junkie and I have been since Donald Trump got elected because WTF? I scroll Facebook like the rest of us do, and read, and validate, and share. I try to share the good news. And I try to share the really good, and funny things arising of people’s social distancing.
Social distancing, self isolation, and self quarantine are making for some really damn good internet, I have to say. Like the sports commentator who no longer has sports to commentate on and instead is commentating on mundane life activities. These people who made a parody of If I Had A Million Dollars about COVID-19. Basically, I have learned this week that pandemics are distracting.
I’ve also been providing random observations, like I do, of the daily Trudeau press conferences. In case you’re reading this far in the future, recall that Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, also known as Justin Trudeau’s wife, has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This means that Justin is also self isolating at a distance in Rideau Cottage. (Justin, are we on a first-name basis? Thanks.) As such, the press briefings are outside.
Here is what I have observed so far. He still has a few days of self-isolation left as far as I can calculate, which means there will probably be some more things to comment on:
- Friday, 03/20 – When Justin Trudeau has to do a press conference from outside his home due to self isolation, occasionally you hear a crow in the background!
- Saturday, 03/21 – Justin Trudeau forgot to take out his earphones (Bluetooth) before he left Rideau Cottage. He began his press briefing, and then realized and removed them to put on the podium
- Sunday, 03/22 – Justin Trudeau has to inform not one, but two reporters calling in by phone that their line is on mute. (There was also some banging during which he expertly paused before answering the reporter’s question, while simultaneously looking like nothing was happening.)
It is now a daily goal to record these odd observations for those who are not tuning in to the press conferences (also for Americans who need a more peaceful and even pandemic press conference experience). As well, I have been “determining” (ie. making up completely) which cabinet ministers are assisting JT with random tasks during his self isolation. So far Patty Hajdu (Health Minister) is wiping down the doorknob after he returns inside, Bill Morneau (Finance Minister) is helping him dye his hair which I cannot give any real rationale for, and when my friend Bill (not Morneau) asked whose job it was to be the crow executioner earlier today, I have assigned this to Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government, as the crow is clearly disrupting this process.
On weekdays, I usually watch the press conferences and go about my work life as normal. Archery ended the week before last, so a few days before we were in full on social-distancing mode. The last bus I took, on the way home from archery, had so many sick people on it, I got off two stops early and when I got in my mom’s car she informed me I was not taking the bus again till this was over. That was a Thursday. Friday the 13th was the day that everyone started buying up all the friggen toilet paper here. There was a line down the entire front of Costco waiting to get in (Facebook shows me, anyways). So Saturday the 14th we went to see the shelves. No toilet paper in sight, and that has continued in many stores around the globe.
Which is friggen bananas, in all realty. This is a respiratory virus. What do y’all need all this canned food and toilet paper for? It’s not a GI bug or a snowstorm. Now stores have begun to institute per person limits on many items, and in some cases are engaging in price gouging.
Also Jill in Ottawa spotted a guy with a cart at Dollarama full of rope, tarps and lightbulbs, so 1) I friggen hope he is building a shelter with those supplies and 2) the disconnect between lightbulbs and extreme prepper shelter building in a pandemic is perplexing.
Also speaking of doomsday preppers, I’ve been wondering how these people are doing
. They’re surely laughing at the rest of us us (while medical professionals are or will be in desperate need of their masks).
Also I put this rainbow in my window today. I’m not sure if the kids are looking for rainbows or Easter eggs in Winnipeg’s treasure-hunt-social-distancing-go-for-a-walk game but I’ll add the easter egg soon.
Current stats in Manitoba: 11 cases confirmed, 9 probable cases, 0 deaths.
Canada has a total of 1430 cases confirmed, 41 probable cases, and 20 deaths.
(You can follow my day-to-day social distancing/self isolation updates on Instagram