In my multicultural family we celebrate both Passover and Easter. On occasion we have celebrated both at the same time. So, no Seder tonight. No big Easter gathering this week with the kids running around outside searching for eggs. The best I could do is this picture of matzo ball soup from my sister (photo credit to Lynne Snyder) and dyeing eggs with grandchildren on FaceTime.
I believe that we will get back to having holidays. Will that be parades and barbecues on Memorial Day weekend? I don’t think so. July 4th ? Doubtful. My big questions right now are whether school will start in August and we’ll be able to take the little ones out on Halloween.
I’m paying attention to the scientists. They say that four things need to be in place AFTER we’re way down on the curve, but before we have a vaccine. They call them the four Ts: testing, tracing, treatment, therapeutics. Well, we know where we are with testing—where we should have been six weeks ago. In order to “open up the country” we need wide-spread rapid testing capacity everywhere and we need antibody testing.
Please just think about this in terms of your own life.
Do you want your college age student to share a dorm quad with three other kids with no idea whether they’re coming to school from an area that has active cases?
The last office I worked in had open cubicles and a lot of common areas used by everybody, in addition to two common break rooms/kitchens and shared bathrooms. Would you feel okay with that if you had no information about anybody’s status?
Many of us have to use child care centers and after school programs in order to work. Are you okay with your child being taken care of by people when you have no knowledge of their status? Day care workers currently need negative tests for TB prior to working. Are we going to require tests for Covid-19 before day care centers can open? What if a day care worker is positive and carries the virus into the center, your child becomes an asymptomatic shedder, and brings it home to you?
Once we have folks with positive tests, we have to quarantine them and do contact tracing—everybody that person has been in contact with for the past 14 days. If the country is shut down, that’s not too difficult. But if we begin this simultaneously with opening things up—oh my goodness. How many people in 14 days? Everyone who rode on the bus and subway you take to get to work and back—every day. Everyone who works directly with you. All the people you stood in line with at Target. Everyone who pushes the same elevator buttons? Once identified, those people either have to be isolated for 14 days, or tested.
Treatment: Hospitals have to be prepared to continue to take cases while also getting back to normal with their ongoing work. They will continue to need more PPE (another new term for most of us!) than usual, and will still need to isolate COVID-19 patients.
Therapeutics. Oh right, at this time we have no meds at all that are proven to work against this virus.
Next holiday gathering–maybe Thanksgiving?
This really gives me something to think about. To much to really think about if our new normal will become a reality. I now realize to role of scientist and true data. Every report brings tears. These are real people transitioning daily. Thanking our medical professionals daily. What will be our “new normal?”
It’s a lot, right? The way I think about it is to write about it. In the years to come, this will be a watershed moment in a lot of ways. Stay safe!