Stay Safe Out There!
By now, I'm sure everyone has heard about the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. (You'd have to be living under a rock if you haven't.) It's been all over social media and TV, and there's no escape from it.
(Because of that, I have to remind myself to breathe. I suffer from extreme anxiety, so it's important to be kind to myself during this difficult time. I haven't been sleeping or eating well.)
If you have anxiety like me, here's a GIF to help you practice your breathing. It's no cure, but it can help you cope:
I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Canada is closing its borders to every country except the United States. Ontario has just issued a province-wide state of emergency. All restaurants and bars are being ordered to close, and all government employees (we have a lot of them who work here in Ottawa) were told to work from home. My dad is one of them, but my mom works at a grocery store as a cashier and still has to go to work. I live with my parents (we just bought a house in August 2019) and I am a full-time writer so I can work from home, thankfully.
My mother has type two diabetes and would be in the vulnerable group of people who are most at risk of death for this virus. I also have elderly grandparents in their mid to late 70's. I am worried about my family, even though they're taking precautions.
(Side note: make sure to thank your cashiers/retail workers. They are exposed to people/germs all day long and are trying their best with all this panic buying. All the grocery stores here are mostly empty, and suppliers are working overtime to replenish the shelves.)
So far, we've had 13 cases here in Ottawa. But our Chief Medical Officer has said there could be hundreds to a thousand of undiagnosed cases. No one is really certain of anything right now, and the situation changes rapidly from one hour to the next.
In late January, my mother and I both had a terrible flu. I was sick in bed for a week with a fever while my mother had trouble breathing. (My dad didn't catch it.) It could've just been the flu, but in hindsight, I'm now wondering if it was the Coronavirus. Luckily, my mother and I both made full recoveries. Everyone in my family (including myself) feels healthy, and none of us have any symptoms.
For now, my family and I have been laying low and avoiding other people as much as possible. As I said, my mother still has to go to work, but my dad is driving her so she doesn't have to take public transit. We're trying to do everything we can to reduce the spread of this virus, but it's tricky. Cases keep rising -- as well as general anxiety and fear.
My heart goes out to everyone infected and the families of those who have passed. Despite the circumstances, I believe in humanity. We are strong, intelligent people and will find a way to beat this virus and go on. We've survived pandemics in the past. And thousands of people diagnosed have recovered, so I'm choosing to focus on that.
I've been working harder -- doing more writing and reading -- to try to distract myself. I wanted to write a blog post to tell everyone to stay safe, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and stay home if you can. Let's try to stay calm and heed the advice of our doctors. They know what's best, and I believe they will save us.
May the Coronavirus be a distant memory one day.