The Virus

A week and a half ago I was talking to Jim while we walked the dogs about how excited I was to run Nina at the National Agility Championship. That weekend we went to a trial and had a great weekend. Sure there was more hand sanitizer and hand washing than usual, and a friend talked about her fears about COVID-19 especially since she’s over 60 and her husband is in his 70’s with health issues. She said she didn’t think she was going to the NAC.

I called my friend Sue on the way home and we talked about it. We were probably still going but we’d wait a week and see how it was looking.

There was discussion on Facebook amongst agility folks. “I’m going!” “If they hold it I’m going!” “I dunno…” “Anyone rethinking it?”

And then a friend wasn’t going because her daughter begged her not to. And then I was out walking my dogs and realized I just wasn’t looking forward to it all of a sudden, I was dreading it, that the risk seemed far greater than any possible reward. There’s no way to maintain social distance from 1400+ people, there just isn’t. And did I want to be in Georgia, 1000 miles away from home, if things changed suddenly? So I decided I wasn’t going.

And then, on Friday, they announced they were postponing the NAC! I thought really hard and said I probably wouldn’t be going to the trials I’d entered over the next couple of months, but that I wouldn’t ask for my money back (after all, I want there to be agility trials again!). And then, as the weekend progressed, clubs started voting to cancel their trials. People were taking this seriously other than hoarding toilet paper!

And then, with St Patrick’s Day parades cancelled and strong recommendations to avoid crowds of more than 50 people, a bunch of fucking idiots went and crowded the bars on Chippewa in Buffalo last weekend. Probably people at lower risk, but you never know. Fuck.

Since I’m an introvert anyway, spending a non-agility weekend at home puttering around, doing some cleaning (albeit with more bleach than usual), playing some video games (“No Man’s Sky” again), walking the dogs….this isn’t in any way an unusual weekend for us. Staying home comes naturally to us. I’m sure for extroverts this whole social distancing thing is very tough. But we need to do it. Jim’s been told he’s teaching from home. I love my job but I wish it was one I could telecommute to (although we’re very small and never have more than a couple of clients in the building at any one time and we’re cleaning like the Queen is coming to visit). I want to hunker down. I’m already such a hermit that this comes naturally to me, it really makes me want to go nowhere I don’t have to go.

Yes, they still say 80% of illnesses are mild, but…a 47 year old EMT just died in Italy.

I’m scared. I feel like the week before last was the last normal week we’ll have for a while (as my friend Mr. Todd said). I didn’t know that trial was going to be my last agility trial for a while, I wouldn’t have done anything differently, but it would have imbued it with…something. The CDC is saying they will likely recommend no large gatherings for at least 8 weeks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if its much, much more than that.

We’ve had so many pandemic/zombie/disaster movies, we should be well-prepared – the folks in the bars on Chippewa, whistling past the graveyard, should know that they’re the ones we roll our eyes at in the movies, who of course get bitten by zombies and end up eating brains. I get it, I think, they want normality, they don’t want to acknowledge this nightmare is fast becoming reality, THIS IS AMERICA, yadda yadda. But they probably won’t get too sick, they’ll just become disease vectors for their parents and grandparents, and their workmates and their families. And they’ll spread this thing. Mental health is important, of course it is, but their actions could have real, serious, fatal consequences.

We have amazing scientific minds working on this. We will hopefully come out the other side of it eventually. But only if people start taking it seriously.

I’m trying not to panic, having anxiety makes this very difficult, and I’m attempting to limit my news exposure to a couple of science-oriented articles a day and official reports. I’m washing my hands so many times a day it’s funny (it’s not even 8 AM and I’ve probably already washed my hands 5 times).

I don’t even know what the point of this post is, other than to document for myself how quickly things have changed. A week ago last Friday I was walking my dogs and excited about agility. Now I’m bleaching my doorknobs and washing my hands every 15 minutes. This is the new normal now, all of a sudden. We have three confirmed cases in Erie county, which we knew was going to happen (and there are probably more who haven’t been tested yet). It’s scary. I’m trying. I’m washing my hands. Oh boy am I washing my hands.

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