Relationships

Coronavirus: How Are You Feeling?

Empty piazza San Marco

An empty Piazza San Marco on March 6th in Venice, Italy. (By Stefano Mazzola.)

Every time I pass people on the street, they are talking about the same thing: the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems to be top of mind for everyone. As always, I’m wondering: how are you feeling?

Right now, for our family, life feels ominous but semi-normal. Toby and Anton are still going to public school. Alex’s department at the New York Times asked everyone to work from home, so he’s been writing on a laptop in our bedroom. Our Cup of Jo spring event was canceled, and we have started avoiding big public groups, including basketball games and movie theaters. We bought a couple extra boxes of pasta and cereal and toilet paper. We’re greeting people with elbow taps or waves, instead of hugs and cheek kisses. But we’re still seeing friends at the park and going to the grocery store.

I’m assuming that, in days or weeks, things will continue to tighten up. “Cancel everything,” says an Atlantic headline. “The bottom line: It is going to get worse,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

It’s a very strange feeling — waiting to see what will happen. Will public schools close? Will subways shut down? Will we mostly be staying home? One thing that brings me comfort: I do believe that people are inherently good and we can work together to keep our communities safe.

A few things that are worth reading…

* Coronavirus in brief. The basics.

* COVID-19: Not just a bad flu.

* A reassuring comic for kids about the new coronavirus. Loved this (and it comforted me, too).

Please share: How are you feeling? Where do you live? I’d love to hear. Take care of yourself, and sending so much love to everyone. And keep washing those hands! xoxo

A professor tapes a lesson in an empty classroom on March 5th in Milan, Italy. (By Piero Cruciatti.)

Shelves that usually hold toilet paper and paper towels on March 2nd at Costco in Teterboro, New Jersey. (By Seth Wenig.)

An empty soccer stadium on February 27th in Milan, Italy, where fans weren’t allowed. (By Emilio Andreol.)

(Photos via The Atlantic.)

  1. NM says...

    My 11 year old daughter has been really worried about the elderly being lonely now that nursing homes cannot have visitors. She decided to draw pictures with uplifting quotes and share them daily on Instagram(@coronakindnessnow) in hopes that she can add a smile to someone’s day. This has also helped her cope with the chaos during this time.

    Please share her Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/coronakindnessnow/
    to anyone who you think may need some sunshine.

    Thank you Joanna for this loving community!

    Healthy wishes to all!

  2. Daniela says...

    I’d love it if you did a post on ways we can help our immediate communities and the world out right now. We’re almost out of toilet paper and can’t find any anywhere, and a kind coworker is dropping some off for us today which is a huge help and I want to give back too.

    We don’t have much food to spare since we can’t find much, but we both are still working and I’d love to donate and I’m sure I’m not remembering every business or person who may need some extra help right now, and would love an article about how we can help others. Sorry if this sounds like I’m rambling, my anxiety is kind of at a peak. :)

    • Charo says...

      The best thing to help yourself and others is to stay at home, confined. Don’t worry about TP. There’s water and soap at home? Then you’ll be alright. The TP thing happened everywhere the first few days. Now things are back to normal, as supply has not stopped, just everybody decided to buy TP God knows why. The amount of hilarious memes in Spain about TP is astronomical. So, please, isolation, washing hands thoroughly and common sense.

    • Daniela says...

      Charo, I wish I could stay home! I work in healthcare and still have to go in to work and my husband is also in a field that requires him leaving the home to work. But we’re self isolating on our days off.

  3. Karen says...

    please check out esther Cho’s GetmePPE post on twitter – frontlines health care workers showing how they are reusing masks and equipment because they are out or limited supplies. nd please pass on to anybody who can make this more visible

  4. Alex says...

    I’m an emergency doctor in Sydney, Australia. We’re about two weeks behind Italy and I feel like we are facing a tsunami. We (GP husband and I) are trying to organise childcare for our toddler but don’t want to expose anyone else, or leave her with anyone we don’t trust. We will certainly both get it. Healthcare workers are over-represented among the young people that are dying. Modelling suggests 80000 people will need ICU beds in our state. We have 2000. Some of my colleagues have complex medical conditions and will have to leave the front line. Others will go home to the UK to be with their family. We don’t have enough masks or gowns.
    I had to divert an elderly couple from walking towards the ambulance bay where paramedics were bringing someone in wearing full PPE. I keep seeing vulnerable people in the hospital. A little kid with downy hair and an NG tube took his mask off to scratch his nose when he was in the cafeteria and I almost screamed.
    I’m worried (obviously) about the casualties from COVID. We will not be able to offer many people the lavish care we are used to in our excellent public health system. I’m worried about all the people unlucky enough to have heart attacks, strokes and cancer over the next few months.
    I’m so sad that I won’t get to see my baby niece or nephew until they are several months old. I hope I can see my grandad and parents again. They have enough comorbidities that they won’t be treated if our situation becomes like Italy’s.
    On my drive home for the last few days the cafes have been full. People don’t listen. They think they have ‘just a cold’ and are ignoring the (admittedly inadequate) advice.
    Please stay home. Help others in any way you can. #kindnesssaveslives

    • Rusty says...

      Yes! I’m high risk, part of the ominous 4%!

      We are proactively replacing our very old hot water system before the tsunami and winter hits Australia and the guy that came to give quote stuck his hand out to shake my hand.
      I said “I’m not shaking hands, I’m high risk.” and he retorted out of his fit, gealthy, 30-something self “Really?! Are you really even worried about all that?!”
      Needless to say he didn’t get the job. The second guy, who ‘got’ the concept of how REAL the situation is, is installing it tomorrow.

      I’d like to acknowledge you, your husband and all the others on the front line. It is real and without you, none of us with any health issues stand a chance.

      I’m glad I’m under 60 years. The idea of age being a cut off point for treatment is appalling, but I see the reality.

      Be safe. Know that we DO appreciate all that you’re doing.
      With love, Rusty (in Perth)

    • Daniela says...

      Thank you for your thoughts. Working in healthcare is scary right now. As is the fact that I found a lump in my breast and my doctor called to say I can’t be seen for four plus weeks (I had an appointment tomorrow). Terrible timing and I hope it’s nothing serious since it’s so uncertain on when I can even get checked out.

      Stay safe and thank you for what you do.

    • Alex says...

      Thanks Rusty, all the best this winter x

    • Rusty says...

      Daniella, I feel for you. That’s hard. If it’s tender, it’s hopefully a cyst.
      But, yes, still worrying and it is these cases that can ramp up anxiety. Sending you 1.5m hugz. x

    • Daniela says...

      Thanks Rusty. Sending hugs your way as well!

  5. Claire says...

    Please can you do something about activities for kids when stuck at home and can’t even have playdates! Online recommendations would be great too – we usually limit screen time pretty strictly so I have no idea about games or educational shows or anything like that. (My boys are similar age to yours by the way, 5 and 8). Thanks!

    • Dianne says...

      Momath museum of math in NY has free online math camp this week by age – your 5’s and 8s could sign up. The zoos on line are posting activities – Cincinnati zoo has one each day and a time block. The SPCA has a drawing contest today to get a dog adopted. They will post one activity each day on line it says…

  6. Rachel says...

    I am from Hong Kong, since late Dec 2019 we felt like anticipating a tsunami when we heard there’s a mysterious virus from mainland China. Call us hyper nervous but we learnt our lesson hard from SARS. The first blow came in mid-Feb, the city shut down for a month, I worked from home for a month, and my two kids stayed home since then. Our government did nothing right but thanks to my fellow Hongkongers who had mostly been drilled 17 years ago, we wear masks whenever we go out, pour water into the U trap in our toilets, wash our hands frequently, and practise strict social distancing. We were doing ok considering our proximity from the virus source. Now things calm down a bit, I go back to work with my mask on, we all bring our lunch and eat separately in our own seats. I haven’t seen my friends for a while now, but keep contact with them through messaging. At weekend we drive to the places where not many people would go and do some hiking and cycling, still with our masks on.
    And then things are getting serious in Europe and the US and we are anticipating a second blow. We believe we can go through it again and we face the threat calmly and cautiously.

    • Rachel says...

      amendment: the first blow came in Jan not Feb, so it’s been two months for us now living under the coronavirus threat. Please don’t panic, do the right things to protect yourselves and your family. We are doing ok and I hope you too.

  7. Charo says...

    Spain here. Second day confined at home. You can only go out to shop for groceries/food, cigarettes (I know!), gas, medicines, dog… Just now, 4 ministers talking on all channels. Army will be in the streets together with all national security corps (national, federal and local police, civil guards…), all the private hospitals are now under national health authorities, our medical staff are exposing and fighting for us first line of this war against the invisible, the unknown… Please stay at home, please check what’s happening both in Italy and Spain -and first China! Same thing is going to happen in the USA unless home confinement measures are taken. And we are expecting the worst in the next week. Right now we have 7,843 people infected and 292 deaths. And we’ll probably reach the 20.000 by next week, go figure… So please, stay at home, stay safe, stay informed!

    • Inma says...

      I am from Spain too, I have no words to thank our medical staff for the enormous effort they are making. As Charo says, please stay at home and help your elders without maintaining physical contact with them. Please STAY AT HOME!!!, it is the best way to protect yourself and others and to achieve a change in the geometric progression of its spread.

  8. Kathy says...

    I’m a physician in a third world country. I chose to specialize in a field that doesn’t handle too many emergencies. Never thought I’d be called to be part of a pool of back-up physicians who might soon see some action in the ER because our frontliners are falling ill one by one. But being called to go on duty isn’t even my greatest concern right now. PPEs are running out everywhere. Most of our local hospitals simply don’t have the capacity to face a pandemic of this magnitude. The working class, forced into community quarantine, will have a difficult time surviving without a salary. If the virus reaches the poorest of the poor, no doubt countless people will die. It’s the toughest battle we’ve ever faced but I am still holding on and hoping we all get through this together. Please take care, everyone. Prayers for all.

    • Fiona says...

      oh cyber hugs for you – thank you for all the hard work you and your colleagues are doing, we love you and are grateful! xxx

  9. Mary says...

    First off, I’m feeling even more thankful than usual for this supportive community. I live in Cleveland, Ohio and my parents (both in their early sixties) are located about 45 minutes away. I have been trying to be cognizant about flattening the curve, changing my behavior by practicing social distancing, along with other healthy habits like proper handwashing, disinfecting frequently-touched items, etc. My dad just invited me to visit my parents on their farm next weekend. I expressed hesitation and tried to explain my anxiety over the possible exponential spread of the virus, but my dad didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. Anyone else struggling with this dilemma of family politics and differing opinions?

    • Dianne says...

      Momath museum of math in NY has free online math camp this week by age – your 5’s and 8s could sign up. The zoos on line are posting activities – Cincinnati zoo has one each day and a time block. The SPCA has a drawing contest today to get a dog adopted. They will post one activity each day on line it says…

    • moonvirgo says...

      Regarding social distancing, particularly from our elders, I too am struggling. My 81+ yr old aunt lost her husband of 50 years on Christmas Day. We were suppose to be with her now in Vermont. But I live in Westchester NY and am a teacher. Our school closed last week Tuesday out of abundance of caution, and I’ve limited the twins contact with others (no inside other people’s houses since Wednesday) but I had to go in for prof development Wednesday and know 2 parents from my school diagnosed. So we keep taking it one day at a time. We keep putting it off because we keep assessing the situation and our potential exposure.

    • Daniela says...

      I am! I’m supposed to fly out to visit my family next month and they really want me to still visit, while I am not comfortable exposing myself (and then them) to an airport and airplane right now, so I feel your struggle. I also do not want to be separated from my husband right now. If I visited my family and him or I got sick while separated (or flights were canceled).. It scares me.

    • Mary says...

      Oh Moonvirgo, I am sorry for your loss. That is difficult situation even under non-pandemic circumstances. Sending virtual hugs.

  10. Y says...

    I am a Chinese living in Sydney Australia and my hometown is the epicentre of the coronavirus breakout in China, Wuhan, a city with 11 million people, a city which has been under shutdown for over 7 weeks now. My sister’s family live there. I am very concerned about them. When we’re talking about lockdown of Wuhan, it is not just schools, theatres, restaurants… They cannot even get out of their apartments! The groceries have been ordered online and delivered to the door. I worry about their mental health so I face time them very often. It is incredible how resilient they have been, I guess they have to. My teenage niece has been taking online course with her school every day which includes daily physical exercise at home. My sister has been recommending me lots of books and movies. Now things are finally getting better over there and they can see hope at the end of tunnel. Over here in Sydney, the numbers are increasing every day and people are panicking. If the people in Wuhan can get through this, we all can.

  11. Shannon says...

    I’m taking COVID-19 seriously. I understand that it is not a flu, that it’s slightly worse (although in Scandinavia, there have been 5 deaths and 3,000 cases – so good health care seems to make the death rate go way down). But what I don’t understand is the global reasoning to shut the world down, flight bans that aren’t thought out. Even the World Health Organization currently (Today, March 15) is recommending social distancing, but only from people who are coughing or sneezing. Imagine if 24/7 we had a running tally of motorcycle deaths, flu infections, cancer diagnoses, murders, robberies, car accidents, etc. With the same reasoning, we should be doing this with the flu because it also targets the elderly and immune-compromised. People saying “Buy local! Order takeout from your neighborhood restaurants!” have no idea the immense pain and suffering already hitting so many people around the world, particularly those whose lives are sustained by travel and tourism. Worse, it seems that everyone I talk to privately agree with this “panic” mentality, but are afraid to say it because people will jump down their throats. I am a lifelong Democrat and this is not split down party lines, as much as people try to. How can it? But I’m getting an idea on how the “other side” feels during this.

  12. C says...

    As a doctor in the Netherlands I am starting to get worried, since around half of the Dutch patients admitted to ICU’s is younger than 50y/o. It’s not just the elderly who are in danger anymore.
    Schools are still open here and there are people at cafés and restaurants! Prime minister is discussing school closure today, but just that won’t be enough.
    Let’s flatten the peak, people. Stay in as much as you possibly can, and leave groceries for the elderly on their doorsteps.

  13. D says...

    PLEASE practice social distancing. For everyone that is “young and healthy” (I am too) and not concerned about getting COVID-19 — you probably will be fine, however it’s about all the people you could potentially spread it too. There are 30 and 40-year-olds with no past medical history currently in the ICU on ventilators. Then there are those who are immunocompromised or older. Our hospital systems cannot handle the influx of high acuity patients. So please, for everyone’s sake practice social distancing. See this article for what that actually entails: https://medium.com/@ariadnelabs/social-distancing-this-is-not-a-snow-day-ac21d7fa78b4 and here for an interactive on why it is so necessary to flatten the curve: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/13/opinion/coronavirus-trump-response.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage–

  14. bb says...

    I just started working from home on Thursday which has been a huge relief. I work downtown in a crowded city with several confirmed cases and take public transportation which has been really stressful. My 13 year old’s school is closed for at least 3 weeks and she is worried about her 8th grade graduation in May (or maybe June now – they haven’t yet decided if they will extend the school year) being cancelled. My husband works alone and is mostly just going between home and his shop.

    I am looking forward to all the time I’ll get with my daughter. She is very good company and it is comforting to have her close. I am looking at this as a time to do my civic duty and help flatten the curve, to be grateful that I have the privilege of working from home with no disruption to my income, and to take really good care of myself. I’m going to bed early, I’m going for walks at lunchtime (avoiding busy streets), eating healthy food. We plan on doing projects around the house, watching lots of movies and reading lots of books. As a family of introverts, this is hardly the worst thing that could happen to us.

    I made my living by waiting tables for several years and I am thinking about people whose livelihoods are impacted. This must be terrifying. I was torn about avoiding restaurants but I do believe that it is for the greater good right now in these early days. I’m hoping that enough people practice social distancing to minimize the number of people who contract the virus. I’m hoping it doesn’t take too long for us to come out the other side.

    Mostly, I’m trying to stay calm. This is all so stressful and surreal. I keep telling my daughter that she will tell her grandchildren about this. I am focusing on all the lovely stories I keep hearing (including in the comments here!) and the sense of camaraderie i am feeling everywhere.

  15. C says...

    If anyone in the Milwaukee area needs any type of assistance (grocery shopping, errand running, childcare during the work week), please respond! I am young, healthy/uncompromised, and able to help.

    • Neysa says...

      This gave me goosebumps. Such a wonderful offer. Full power to you.

  16. Stephanie says...

    My mom and dad are over 65 and also not in great health. They are the at-risk population. My mom is really struggling with this because she misses seeing people. We had planned a visit to see her and think we may cancel because I’m concerned about the possibility of getting her sick (I have no idea if I have been exposed, I live and work in a big city with known cases). She told me over the phone how a lot of people over 60 are having a very hard time with this.

    Please, call your mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Check in on them (via phone) frequently.

  17. Stephanie says...

    I feel like a train is coming. It’s not moving slow but so fast that when it comes we won’t even see it. The weather here in DC is absolutely lovely right now. The trees and spring flowers are starting to bloom. The sun is shining (oh you glorious sun!). It’s so peaceful to step outside and enjoy it. However, I feel the train coming and it’s not peaceful at all. People are happy to be outside, but everyone is apprehensive. It’s a very strange juxtaposition. The schools and libraries have closed (I found it amusing when the librarian told a parent couple that there has been a run on “The Magic Treehouse” series). But life goes on as usual. I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, but oddly it’s at a normal level with all of this so far. I keep reminding myself that life goes on as usual, albeit a little different (we are social distancing). One of us (my family) may get sick, but we’ll most likely be ok. We’ll all come out on the other side of this. It may look different, but we’ll just adapt to a new normal. I guess I just keep reminding myself how adaptable we all are.

    If you are struggling, ask for help. Reach out to friends (go for a walk, talk on the phone, have a video chat). Call a therapist. And meditate.

    And do remember to do some self-care. Take some time to yourself to do something you love. We have to stay grounded.

  18. Kate says...

    I’ve accepted that my family and I will probably get the virus. I’m not scared because we’re young and healthy and all but guaranteed to recover. I worry about the 80+ age people in my life – not even just them getting sick but the feelings of loneliness and confusion they will have to endure. I’m worried about the economy and am committed to keep eating out – even if just takeout – and shopping online like I normally would.

  19. C says...

    I deeply believe that we should look out for one another, that distancing ourselves from others is the kindest thing to do and that this is real. On the other hand I have family who do watch Fox, who think it’s a media ploy to make us panic, and that it’s just so inconvenient how disruptive this whole thing is.
    This sort of thinking infuriates me as I find it utterly foolish and selfish. I have not held my tongue and I know those same people are astonished by my direct assertiveness.
    I am working to keep my employees safe and up to date w/ benefits my state is implementing, trying to figure out how to work w my kids home for 6 weeks, and working to be a compassionate member of my community. All this and there are people who simply do not care to take this seriously! I am angry at and astonished by them and our govt right now. I need to find a different way to approach such people for my own well being and so my energy goes only towards those that are in need.

  20. Martha Patterson says...

    I’m a teacher in Washington state. The governor ordered all K-12 schools closed until April 24th. Several events I was looking forward to in the coming weeks have been cancelled, but I have a sense of calm about it, knowing we are in it all together. I’m most concerned about some of my students…school is their safe place. Online learning is great if you have internet access, and an adult at home monitoring what you are doing….crazy times.

    • Martha Patterson says...

      Also, many Seattle restaurants have closed, temporarily, a few permanently, due to the drop in business. 1000’s of people out of work,

  21. Anika says...

    Hi all,

    It is so upsetting and uplifting at the same time to read through all of your comments. This is truly a global community!

    I live in Vienna. Austria is affected and today started a “lighter” kind of lockdown than in Italy, but we expect the worst to come and thus a full shutdown (Austrian authorities seem to have learned from the Italian experience, and my best guess is they try to ease us in by allowing some shops and restaurants to keep open before they go for full lockdown a day or two later). No more flights to and from affected European countries, all but one border closed. As an 80s baby, all my adult life I’ve enjoyed Schengen and all the freedoms we have, living, studying, working and loving in so many countries of the EU. And now I can neither go be with my parents in Germany (they’re in their 60s and the virus has reached their village in the west of Germany), nor be with my Italian fiancé who’s stuck in lockdown in Rome. I remain in Vienna, terrified of what may come, and how long it will all take before we arrive at a new normal. The last flight we could have taken to at least be locked in together was days ago, we were hesitant. Now all is on hold – wedding planning, future planning, trying to get pregnant, all the happy things one can’t wait to do with The One, just being with each other – we are just trying to get through this, living in single households in separate countries, trying not to let it get to us and be there for those around us. The underlying anxiety is hard to deal with though. We don’t know how long this will last. Weeks? Months?

    On the bright side, my friends and colleagues are a huge support. And the forever social-democratic city of Vienna is as expected taking care of its vulnerable, sick and elderly, just like the citizens showing great solidarity. It’s heartwarming and reassuring to see. I went to buy stuff in as many small businesses as I could in the last few days.

    Also, as my beacons for mental health, the yoga and Pilates studios are closed – I just found that the Down dog yoga app, because of covid19, offer global full free access till 1 April! Go try. It’s soothing and the selection of classes is huge.

    Sending lots of love from Vienna! And virtually an abbraccio forte forte alle italiane. Siete sempre nei nostri pensieri.

  22. Sarah says...

    I was a nurse through SARS in Toronto and then also contracted H1N1 at work before it barely in the news. Right now I’m thankful for the excellent public health in Canada. People tend to come together I’m times of crisis. I’m not saying any of this will be easy but I believe in our resiliency. All we can do is slow down the spread of the virus so that the vulnerable in society have access to a hospital bed if they need it. Interestingly, this will also help the economy too. So as long as people don’t panic too much, things should turn out okay in time.

  23. J says...

    What a beautiful bunch of humanity gathered together here. Thank you CoJ team! I am in western Canada where schools are being told it is unnecessary to close – while other provinces are closing schools for several weeks. My leaders are choosing to be irresponsible global citizens! It feels wrong to me. I am thankful Spring Break starts today…. maybe they will come to their senses and extend closures.

    I am also a primary school teacher – and little kids can be SO GROSS! Talk about germ spreaders! Ah!

    As awful as this is, I am thankful to feel as connected as I do to the rest of the world. We are in this together.

    • victoria says...

      We are in BC and I am hoping schools stay closed after Spring Break. Lots of people still went away on vacation. So scary.

  24. Maddie says...

    Thanks for writing about this. I agree with a few others that you should do more to encourage people to socially distance themselves. While it may seem unreasonable now, it’s actually very reasonable and responsible. It only feels unreasonable because it somehow feels like we’re breaking social norms. However, what is “normal” now is very different than a week ago, or even 3 days ago. There is a new normal now, and that means cancelling all travel and public gatherings, avoiding public transit if possible, and working from home if possible. This is the responsible thing to do, and it’s absolutely necessary that we all do this to contain the spread.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes I am on the same page. When I wrote this post, things looked differently — now in the Friday post you will see we are encouraging social distancing. Thank you!

  25. Elizabeth says...

    I scared. Not necessarily of getting sick personally (although that is a concern) but how the health care system will cope, how the vulnerable will survive and how businesses will survive. My husband runs a small architectural practice – he will be heavily affected by this , how will he pay rent, his staff, drum up business? How will so many small businesses cope? The economic fall out will be enormous.
    I’m in Melbourne Australia and I believe daycare is days away from shutting. How I will cope parenting with two small kids at home in a small premise?
    As an aside thank you Jo- this blog is needed more than ever when I’m sure many like me need connection more than ever when we can’t go about our ordinary lives .

    • Vanessa says...

      This is pretty much exactly how I’m feeling! Not really scared of getting sick, but afraid fo everything else. My husband owns a small business too, and he’s worried about getting sick and having to stay home for 2+ weeks.

  26. I’m in southern Germany. Things have been pretty intense here for the past 2 weeks, everyone watching and waiting. A lot of people go to northern Italy for skiing holidays in February, then there are Karneval parties and parades – it was a bad combination and now we have a lot of cases. Schools are now closed until after Easter holidays (20 April). Museums, bars, clubs, cinemas, pools are all shutting down. My son’s school is continuing classes via video conferencing for 2 weeks before the holidays. I’ve left notes for my elderly neighbours to offer help with groceries. People are on average calm here, but wary. We definitely haven’t seen the kind of panic buying as it sounds like there has been in the US, though German has a great word for it: Hamsterkäufe. It literally means ‘hamster buys’, as in shopping like a hamster stuffs its cheeks. Stay well and sane, folks. x

    • Rosie says...

      I love that. Hamsterkäufe. I’m sharing that with everyone.

    • Jona says...

      That is the cutest visual for mild panic buying ever! Hope all goes well for you, your family and your country!

  27. AM says...

    I live in Los Angeles and work in the public library system here. It’s been a little spooky to say the least. People have absolutely gone overboard as far as hoarding supplies goes, but I’ve noticed that finally people are taking this more seriously and trying to stay home. The libraries just have a trickle of patrons now, our programs have been cancelled through March, and computers can no longer be used by the public, and everyone seems to be understanding of this. Our local government is really taking the initiative to keep as many people as possible healthy. Traffic has even let up a little bit (unless of course you need to stand in the never ending line to get into a Costco!) My biggest concern is keeping my older family members safe, so we’ve taken extra precaution and are just video chatting with everyone and letting our 2 years old daughter take the reigns and do pretty much everything at her snails pace to kill time. It’s proving to be so challenging for parents who have to still work and take care of our children. Overall, this just shows me how we can all nip this in the butt with or without the guidance of our federal government leaders.

  28. shade says...

    More and more parents are pulling their kids out of my son’s school here in Brooklyn. We are planning to do the same starting Monday. I’m terrified of this decision but I worry about the spread of this virus even more. I thought they would make the decision to close NYC schools by now but we can’t wait any longer I think. How on earth do we go forward with home schooling? It’s only 1st grade but still…

  29. E says...

    I’m utterly terrified. I live in a deeply red, rural county in Colorado and the overall opinion here is that this is an overblown hoax perpetrated by the liberal media, and possibly entirely invented by China. We have a high percentage of elderly and I know beyond a doubt that our health care system here will collapse under the onslaught that’s coming. I’ve never had so little faith in our leadership, and although I’m trying hard to stay positive and active (planting seeds!) I think the next two weeks and beyond are going to be grim.

    Thank you so much, CoJ team, for creating this space to share. I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me to have this community in my ever-more-isolated situation. Healthy wishes to all.

    • A says...

      I feel the same E. I live in a place where people are completely in denial–a place where I already feel kind of isolated and the thought of how bad this will get is completely overwhelming.

    • S says...

      Best wishes to you, E, and for your community. I am also in deeply red western Colorado. I hear some of the same things, ‘It’s just a cold!’ ‘There are no cases here’

      Hang in there. I am trying to find some balance in all of it. You are not the only non-red voting, conspiracy spreading rural resident:)

    • Hey E,
      We’re in Colorado too– my older folks live with us, and my dad especially has chronic lung issues — a very compromised immune system, and my own immune system (different issues than my father) is at high risk too.

      My husband and I made the decision to quarantine our family as of Wednesday morning.

      Last night, we were informed by the school that they would be closing down (so our kids only missed two days more than the rest of their class).

      I agree with you wholeheartedly; the folks who are getting their information from Fox News, are going endanger many, many people.

      I am scared at the seeming certainty that our hospitals will be overrun, that, like Italy, we will be faced with more and more younger people needing respiratory support, and that it’s going to feel like a war zone situation— that doctors (before they fall ill themselves) will be deciding who’s going to receive care, and who will have to be turned away.

      I am deeply disappointed that Trump eliminated the very resources that we needed for such a situation as this: the pandemic specialists and response teams, and yet, he continues to blame anyone except his administration,

      My heart is broken for the folks being racially profiled against because of this virus, for the small businesses, and self-employed, for the folks who don’t have paid sick leave — we MUST help each other.

      We must come together (though not physically) to help those who are less privileged than we are — folks who cannot afford extra food, supplies, and childcare.

      We will get through this, and when we do, I hope that the eyes of some conservative people who believed “it’s just like the flu,” or “I’m young, I’ll be fine,” will be opened to the catastrophic effect that the unpreparedness of the United States, has had on their parents, grandparents, and immunocompromised friends and loved ones.

      To all of us needing comfort, I say this:

      Self Quarantine and Social Distancing is the most effective way to slow the spread, and you have done that — that is no small thing!

      We must look at this as a learning opportunity, as an adventure, and as a great chance to further deepen our compassion and empathy. There are good humans in the world, and I hope that we will come out of this with a deeper respect for how our individual actions affect the lives of others; that being a compassionate and caring individual will make real difference in the outcome.

      As many before me have said in the last couple of days, we’re giving the doctors and nurses the best possible gift by socially distancing: A Fighting Chance.

      Love to you all.

      ~ Love

    • Additionally, I think we must give ourselves permission to acknowledge that we may almost certainly be grieving, before the end of this.

      That shows strength, not weakness.

      Big Love.

    • E says...

      Thank you friends, for your kind comments. And solidarity to the fellow Coloradans here who are outside of the “blue corridor” and feeling alone and scared. We are young and healthy, but my husband returns from a work trip tomorrow; we’re going to assume he’s infected and self-isolate for a minimum of fourteen days to hopefully avoid spreading this to our elderly community. I sincerely hope that we all come through this better and stronger.

      P.S. To S.: I’m on the Western Slope too. Let’s meet up when this is all over and plan a revolution. :)

  30. N says...

    Feeling anxious and scared.

    The federal government needs to STEP IT UP. It’s clear that won’t happen with this administration. The personal is political. Let’s VOTE in November, people. Remember how Trump and Pence cut the budget for the CDC. Remember how they deny science. Remember how they get the facts confused with their “hunches” (Trump) and this isn’t Pence’s first rodeo (re: the HIV outbreak in Indiana after removing Planned Parenthood).

    In November, let’s FUND SCIENCE, NOT BILLIONAIRES!

    For now: Wash your hands, stay home from events/outings, go to sleep early, do yoga, call and Facetime your friends and loved ones. Hold your community close. Breathe (but not on each other).

    Thankful for you, CoJ!

    • Dominika says...

      I just moved to London with my husband and two kids 2 months ago. With all the countries around the world shutting down, UK seems like nothing changed much, except the number of sick people is rising every day. Schools are still open and everyone is just keeping calm and carrying on! Personally I feel the Government is more worried about economic then peoples lives right now, which worries me a lot.
      The combination of living in a new city away from my family ( I’m from Czech Republic and my husband from US) and previously suffering with health anxiety is not a good combination for current situation! Wishing everyone to stay healthy and sane for the next couple of weeks/months!

    • Kate says...

      Hooray! Well said. Yes, to all of that … vote to fund science!

    • Nima says...

      I left the USA to come to India on March 5, before the cases popped up here. I just missed being stuck in the long lines at the airport once the screening of all passengers started on March 5. My ticket to return to the USA is for April 4, but I also feel my elderly parents here (whom I came to visit) May feel better if I am here with them than leaving them alone at a time like this.
      I see the crazy long lines and hours spent by returning passengers at the US airport and hope that that is under control soon. Here too, the talk us of possible lockdown, so it’s a wait and watch situation. Hope the world comes out it stronger. The Indian Sanskrit phrase, ‘ Vasudaiva kutumbakam’ or the entire world is one family, seems so apt now.

  31. Christina H. says...

    I am a freelance musician in NYC, and I was booked to perform with a major orchestra for the rest of this month. Lincoln Center is shut down until the end of the month and while I completely agree this is necessary, this is a very scary time as a freelancer. The work I was counting on is gone. Not to mention that in about five weeks I am getting married–the wedding is 99% paid for and I am so worried about how much worse things will get. We have been planning this wedding for a year and a half. I want to prioritize my family and friend’s health, and still it would break my heart if we have to cancel everything we have been working on. I really hope that the decisions to socially distance NOW will help in five weeks time to allow the wedding to go on…

    • ARC says...

      I am so sorry to hear, and I have been thinking how to help local businesses, artists, freelancers of many kinds etc. who are under a major strain with this. Going to my local bookstore now and will purchase some reading for
      “social distancing”. Folks, please support people like Christina where you can, invite your freelance photographer and artist friends over for dinner (yes, it’s a group thing, but a small group) and help out. Also, for those people who are looking for work, the interviewing has all but dried up because everyone who can is working from home, or putting a hold on hiring (my significant other is in this unfortunate position right now). I hope your wedding can go ahead – wishing you all the best and many concerts to come after this has subsided.

    • Rosie says...

      I don’t know where you live, but a lot of governments require the suspension of events over 100 people. I would try to reschedule anything you can ASAP because my brother-in-law canceled his wedding that was supposed to be three weeks from now, and they had to eat several large down payments, but they managed to save most of it by rescheduling for next fall. I wouldn’t go to a wedding right now, and this isn’t going to be over in a month.

  32. Isabel says...

    Well, I live in Portugal and it’s starting to get us. I one week time we will probably be a in a very difficult situation. The collapse of national healthcare is already expected if this is not contained asap.
    I started working from home this week, my daughter’s (private) school is already closed so she’s at home as well. We are asked not to visit/contact elderly people to protect them from possible infection and to adopt social distance in general.
    All schools (public and private) are closed starting Monday, prison/hospital/nursing homes’ visits are very restricted. Many/most events are being cancelled. But public transports are still running, shopping malls are opened, etc, etc.
    It’s not panic yet, but people are very anxious.

  33. Rusty says...

    I used to have a saying on my fridge:
    “What I do know is we are here and it us now.”
    I don’t know the author.
    It’s no longer there. It’s in my head as I read and read andread all the contributions, checking in here several times a day.
    I’ve shared the link with so many people.
    This is my respite from the doomsday news.
    This community is full of reality, love and humanity.
    Joanna, thank you. ❤

    • Rusty says...

      It IS now.

    • Paige says...

      It’s from a song by The Smiths :) I have a poster of it on my wall. Full lyric is: “Oh, I don’t know. What I do know is we’re here and it’s now.”

    • Laura says...

      Paige- I started a coronavirus playlist on Spotify and just added this song:)

  34. Laura says...

    I saw a story yesterday that I’m sure many have seen by now, about a woman who was asked by an elderly couple outside a grocery store if she would please shop for their groceries for them. They gave her $100 and a list and told her they had been waiting 45 minutes to ask someone. They were scared to go into the store because of how coronavirus has severely affected older people.

    This was such a good reminder to check in on elderly neighbors, coworkers, family, etc. and see if there is anything they need from grocery stores or pharmacies. Most probably don’t use delivery services like amazon fresh and instacart, and it would be so easy to buy a few extra things for them when those of us who aren’t high risk do our own shopping. Please call/text/leave a note on the front door of any elderly or immunocompromised folks you know and see how you can help. It could make such a difference if we can allow them to stay home and healthy.

    • Angela says...

      Great point!

  35. Jules says...

    I’m nervous. I’ve been nervous about this since reading about it being a problem in China in January. My husband is a police officer and goes to lots of medical calls every day in addition to dealing with the general public. He obviously can’t work from home. He will most likely encounter it soon since it’s in the city and his agency has no plan. He has a history of pneumonia and asthma and I am worried about how well he could fight this. My mom (71) also has a history of pneumonia and talked to a doctor yesterday who said that her lungs are so damaged that if she got it there would be nothing they could do for her. Does that apply to my husband too?

    We have four kids 6 and under. I’m worried about my oldest two being at school and kept them home today. I’m hoping people overreact so we can look back and say it wasn’t as big of a deal as we thought because right now I feel like we’ll look back and say we should have acted sooner.

    • Katie says...

      Jules, given that your husband is high risk, can he take a leave of absence/request a reasonable accommodation from his employer to be given inside duties? The EEOC provided pandemic guidance for employers in 2009 that might be helpful: https://www.eeoc.gov/facts/pandemic_flu.html

      Best of luck. My husband also has asthma and he got a pneumonia vaccine. Luckily he works from home so is less at risk to come into contact.

  36. Christina says...

    I’m a middle school teacher. It was suggested to have mandatory hand-washing for the students. My 7th graders are happy to do this. Also, I’ve made sure that my students are all on Google classroom in case we have to teach remotely. I’m having them take their textbooks home.

  37. Liesbeth says...

    Hi, I live in Belgium and things have changed so quickly the last past days… I am sooo tired. Normally I’m not an anxious person, but this has got me confused. Form last week’s ‘its just the flu”, to this week: ok, I’m not scared to get sick, but for the sake of the others, I won’t go to that workshop & lecture &… I had planned, to wednesday: we were asked not letting grandparents get the kids form school, to yesterday all of the kids hobbies got cancelled & events got cancelled and then today they announced the schools close next week… Well then, I guess we’ll just teach our kids ourselves & work part-time, my husband & me, and just rest and sleep a lot. Hope for my father to not get sick (he has cardiologic problems). Hopefully get a walk in the woods in the weekend…

  38. Liz says...

    Joanna and team, you have a great responsibility as a widely read blog to take a stronger stance on the need for social distancing. Please do the right thing. See mommyshorts for a great example. You have a chance to save lives by modifying people’s behavior. Please, take this opportunity. Do the right thing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, things are changing so much every day. like mommyshorts has changed her mind on trips/concerts in the past two days, we also are now social distancing much more (just canceled weekend plans). i’ll update this more in the weekend link list. thank you!

  39. Maureen says...

    I am from NYC but flew to Missouri with my husband and toddler this week. We are expecting a baby via a surrogate born any day now and wanted to make sure we would make it for the birth.

    My parents are planning on flying out on Sunday to stay with our son while we go to the hospital, but I’m scared for them to travel. And scared for them not to be here because that means my husband can’t make the birth so he can stay with our son. And can’t help us with the new baby.

    Luckily we are all healthy, but gearing up for a hard few weeks. I can’t even think of how we will get home. Driving with a toddler and newborn – yikes.

  40. Juliette says...

    Hi Lindsey :)

    My symptoms are : fever (quite high, not lowering despite taking paracetamol), dry cough, a bit more difficulty to breathe than usual, headaches… The doctors told me that it won’t look like that for everyone but as long as you can keep breathing, it ‘s at a manageable level.

    I’m on day5 since all symptoms are here but some symptoms were here a bit before. I have absolutely no idea where I got it. But Paris is a big city, I take public transportation, there are international delegations coming often at my work… So, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly the source.

    I’m 25 with a chronic disease (but not related to respiratories issues), so to me, it feels like a big flu. For most people, it’ll mean not feeling well for a week or so and then it should pass. At least, that’ s what the doctors told me and I’m hoping that’ s true because 2 more days of this seems plenty enough haha.

    I live with my partner who was instructed to stay home in order to avoid being a risk for others. He’s lucky to be able to work from home.

    We have decided to be positive so here are a few things I’m keeping in mind while having to stay at home :
    – it’s the opportunity to slow down and focus on self care (and show you care for others by being cautious for vulnerable people)
    – we have time to do fun things, board games, movies, being creative, listen to music, take baths… whatever fun at home looks like to each person.
    We have dance parties (I just wiggle my arms at this point but spirit’s there) and bake a lot!
    – I’m seeing solidarity around me and that feels good, people offering to help for childcare for those who cannot work remotely, people sharing their foods, kind thoughts… It’s far from perfect but it’s there.

    Hope those answers help!

    Thank you for the well wishes!!

    • jdp says...

      we are all rooting for you and a quick recovery, juliette!

    • Maja says...

      Wishing you all the best Juliette!! Hope you feel better soon

    • Lindsay says...

      Juliette,

      It absolutely does help, and thank you, thank you for sharing so much. I hope you feel better very soon, and I appreciate you giving us a sense of what to expect if we do happen to be in the same circumstance. Xoxo

  41. Lisa says...

    This unexpectedly got very real and close to home in the last 24 hours. First there was one confirmed case at our local synagogue, then a second (and the individual concerned had been at a community party this week). All of a sudden – the synagogue, creche attached (where my kids go) are all closed, and now the schools in the area which have children from the synagogue are also closed. I have a cough, so to be safe I’m working from home in the next few days.

    I’m now realising what a privileged position I’m in – I have a job with a salary which I can do remotely. We can afford things like home deliveries etc., and we don’t have health issues (I have family members who do) who put us a greater risk. Just thinking of those who aren’t in such a position, and if there is a way in which we can help. I’m trying to see if there is some kind of outreach programme for the older members of my community who are now isolated, if maybe rotas can be drawn up to bring them food.

  42. Emma says...

    I’m in Australia and while I’m usually pretty practical, this has me nervous. We have good healthcare but I have two young boys – 4 and 1 – and we’re meant to be moving to Malaysia in a few weeks. Huge tension headache today from reading all the breaking stories. No idea what we’ll do yet but I’m definitely tired from overthinking on it.

    • Alea says...

      Hi Emma, I’m from KL, Malaysia. Things aren’t looking great here and I’m feeling all kinds of anxiety/overwhelmed, but do reach out if you need any information about Malaysia that might help you or make you feel better.

  43. Catherine says...

    I would love it if Cup of Jo would do a post on tips for working from home while caring for very small children. All schools and daycares in our area just closed for 2 weeks. My husband is a physician at a major urban hospital so he won’t be working from home. I’ll be trying to get a full day of work in at home while caring for a 2 year old and 5 year old by myself. I know this is a minor concern for us at this time, but I’d love some advice from other parents!

    • Elisabeth says...

      Same! I am a professor and my husband is a veterinarian, so while he will likely keep going to work, I may need to move classes online (we are on extended spring break right now)… with a 4 year-old and baby as company…

    • Lisa says...

      Same. I did get some tips from my colleague in China who has been working remotely since mid January, with three children around. They’re still doing school work, but remotely. She and her husband are basically taking turns to work / watch the kids.

      I’m trying to think of activities I can set up that will keep them busy for a while, like this morning I set up a pretend kitchen in their room and a bus, which kept them busy for about half an hour. What really caught my four year old’s attention was the vacuum cleaner – he vacuumed the carpets for a bit. I told him if he’s really good I’ll let him vacuum every day. [evil mummy]. Also printing off things to draw / writing exercises. We’re still able to go outside, so the library and the park (when it’s not too cold).

    • BD says...

      Hi, I’ve been working at home with my kids around for the last 13 years (across the span of three kids). My youngest will be off to kindergarten this fall, so this will change soon for me. I simply work during nap time and on nights and weekends. There are times during the day when I’ve put a tv show on for 45 minutes or so to get more urgent work done. My kids are used to it and old enough now to play on their own as well—obviously not the case for families thrown into this situation. My best advice is to be flexible with your time and to realize that it likely won’t all be getting done during normal business hours.

    • Jessica Abbott says...

      Do you have a way to reach out to see if any college students who are home, or high school students could help with childcare?

    • celeste says...

      Elizabeth, can you video/pretape lectures as much as possible?

    • Becky says...

      Hi Catherine,
      I’m a professional nanny and I have been bracing for all 3 kids instead of just one to be home with me all day. These are suggestions I may not be able to use as I am the childcare provider but may work for parents.
      – I never use screen time and if you dont you may want to consider it in small increments or as a larger treat! so that you can send emails, make quick calls.
      – Set up a scavenger hunt at home or use what is already out for kids to find. Such as things that are blue, a book with a cat in it, etc etc
      – facetime with grandparents, works better for older kids but you could set it up on a shelf and get 10 mins or more! out of your kids doing a show and tell with the gparents.
      – let them go nuts with flour water a whisk bowls. Or water and cornstarch to make a slime. It’s an easy clean up later.
      – a sink full of soapy water and some play dishes. Kids live kitchen and cleaning items like brooms vacuum etc.
      – a bubble bath that you monitor as you do some paperwork.
      – utilize a quiet time if they arent napping. It’s okay for a kiddo sit in a crib or room for 45 mins with quiet activities.
      – coordinate with other parents. Maybe take another family’s kids for the morning then switch with them. A half a day of work is better than no day of work.
      – most likely libraries are closed, book swap from other families with caution but most likely okay in some areas. Kids love other kids items.
      I know that some of these require interacting so perhaps not the best suggestions if you are in a complete lockdown but some areas are not. I’m in the north east. Some schools are closed other activities are still going on. Depends on the area you are in.
      The best advice I heard is that for people to look at it as a bad flu season. It isnt lepracy. Doesnt require a bomb shelter. But common sense and soap.
      Also remember great ideas come from boredom. It’s okay for kids to be board.

    • Becky says...

      *bored

    • KF says...

      A few mantras: I’m doing the best I can. Nothing is really wrong at this moment in my life. No one is expecting me to do everything. And, the most important one: I’m lucky to be stuck with the biggest loves of my life and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Truthfully, it’s going to be rough to be all together all the time but I would be filled with fear if they were out if my sight.

  44. Maria Anagnostopoulou says...

    Athens, Greece. It started 10 days ago from visitors to Israel and Italy. 120 sick 1 dead but very strict precautions from government. All schools shut down, universities, kindergarden, cinemas, theatres, music halls, opera, libraries. Many people wear masks or/and plastic gloves. Many people work from home. Young people of course on the streets, at the sea and cafes. The weather is really beautiful these days. We hope for the best.

  45. RAFFAELA says...

    Hello, I’m Raffaela from Italy. All I can say is … it’s not a joke, it’s a real struggle.. now all Italians must stay home, everything is closed but pharmacies and food shops. Our lives are completely changed and the worst thing is that we don’t know when all this will come to an end. I try to stay positive but it’s mentally very difficult not to panic and be constantly anxious. Everything will be fine but be prepared to stay home for a very long time…

  46. Rosemarie says...

    I just got home a couple of hours ago from my local Trader Joe’s in Redmond, Washington, which is 15 minutes from Kirkland. I used a disinfectant wipe of my own to grab a grocery cart and then wiped it down with a second one I took from just inside the entrance of the store. Once inside, I could see a few customers with masks on and a few others wore those as well as surgical gloves. One woman had a serious, chunky looking mask with large black elastic bands that wrapped around her head. It was sort of humorous–yet not–to watch others steal glances of her. I wore neither gloves nor mask, and this made me feel inadequate. Their somewhat common use represents a change in tenor here within just the last 24 hours or so. We’re no longer taking precautions out of “an abundance of caution,” yesterday’s parlance. This is now very real and we must take precautions because they are required.

    In terms of inventory, pasta was gone as well as tp, but that’s become a normal sight here. There is no hand sanitizer anywhere unless you get to Fred Meyer at 7am and maybe snag some from a new shipment, but we have plenty of soap at home, which is where my husband and our two middle schoolers are. The school district serving Kirkland and Redmond made a second announcement this afternoon that students will be off for six weeks, until April 24, after first announcing yesterday that we would be off until just March 27. Hospitals already feel strained here, I’ve read, yet the knowledge looms that this region has incubated the virus since January 20. I am afraid of what the coming weeks will bring as symptoms come into relief for the many who are likely infected here, and yet my family has healthcare, childcare, and a stocked pantry. This country needs universal healthcare.

    • Angela says...

      I think this is going to force some major structural changes in the US. I agree, healthcare is a basic human necessity and should be guaranteed for all of us. Sick leave and allowing families the resources to care for their children is a must. Maybe once those in power see how screwed they are without the workforce, they’ll realize we’ve been carrying the bag the whole time, while they’ve lined their pockets. Not to mention that the country is largely controlled by those over 60. Interesting times!

    • Just to clarify Rosemarie, the black thing with straps was probably an airbrush respirator, worn when you’re spraying very fine paint mists. I used to wear one before I switched to watercolor. I thought about seeking one out now in an art supply store. They really do protect you. Also quite uncomfortable to wear and pricey. Any kind of mask is unavailable at the moment in Paris.

  47. Jody Winter says...

    Fairly quiet here in New Zealand, with not many confirmed cases yet. But the messages from the government are out there, and contingency plans are being drawn up. I think we know that some sort of outbreak is likely, but for now, we are on the flat part of the curve. I’m lucky that I work in tech so can easily work from home, as can most of my colleagues. Not everyone is as lucky. We are doing all the right things – washing hands properly, avoiding close contact, handshakes etc. I just hope everyone else is doing the same.

  48. I live in northern Italy, in a small city called Ferrara. It’s lovely here, and throughout everything that’s been happening, it’s still lovely. The overall feeling I’m tuning into is one of civic duty. It’s our responsibility as residents to do what we can to keep our hospitals from overcrowding and prevent infecting our more vulnerable community members. In Italy, elders play an integral role in the family unit, often picking kids up from school and taking care of them until their parents return home. This is why schools shut down so quickly here — not to protect the kids per se, but to protect their grandparents. People may be stocking up on a bit more dried pasta, a bit more jarred sauce, but for the most part the shelves have stayed stocked, and the people have remained calm. The hardest part is getting used to an Italy without “baci e abbracci” — kisses and hugs. But my daughter and I did a project at home — along with the rest of her daycare — and hung it in our windows to keep others feeling strong in these isolating times. It’s a picture of a rainbow with the words “Andrà tutto bene.” *Everything will be fine.* And, you know, it will.

    • Liesbeth says...

      that is such a lovely project! I’m keeping this in mind for my kids, because in Belgium, as of tonight things will be almost like in Italy: restaurants & bars closed, shops closed during weekends, only food stores and pharmacies are open. Schools close on monday…

  49. J. says...

    I work for a global company and in addition to being worried about my parents, vulnerable populations, what’s-going-to-happen-next, I have been thinking about how to prep my team (all early-mid 20s) how to work from home for at least a month and still feel connected, supported, and energized as possible.

    This morning, we received a video from our teammates in Mainland China and Hong Kong with their lessons from working from home for going on 7 weeks– it was set to a super upbeat song and featured hysterical clips of them doing home “workouts” and dancing, deeply creative WFH desk setups, dozens of adorable new deskmates (and interruptions) in the form of adorable babies, children, dogs, and other pets, and so many other fun, silly, and heartwarming ideas. It ended with “we’re all in this together — from your team in Mainland China and Hong Kong.”

    It made me tear up– one, full of gratitude that we have jobs that we are able to do from home (we are so privileged/lucky).

    But two, and most of all, it reminded me of one of my favorite lines from East of Eden — “but I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed.” I can’t imagine how scary, stressful, and taxing the last 2+ months have been for my teammates, but it is such a small light to think that they’ve made a tough situation as fun as they possibly can, and when hearing about our US team, thought to make something so seemingly simple and silly as a gift, hug from afar, and piece of encouragement that truly made my day.

    It is a good reminder that though this is a terrifying time, we are hardwired as humans to take care of each other.

    • Maryn says...

      I love this—thank you for sharing! A good reminder to relax a little bit and find joy in small ways.

    • Rusty says...

      This made me teary … for there is still beauty in our humanity.
      Let us all every one of us, learn from this experience of interconnectedness and… be kind, thoughtful and compassionate.

    • Maja says...

      Thanks for this lovely story and inspiring to read your faith in the human soul!

    • Jean says...

      Sometimes our species comes through.

  50. Cathy says...

    Something heartbreaking and scary is that schools with large low income populations (so most urban school districts) are trying not to close if they can because they have so many kids who depend on school for food (they do the same during snow storms, try to stay open if at all possibility). It’s a super painful decision. Those kids going hungry breaks my heart. And yet, we must close schools to flatten the curve, and these mayors know this too but are trying to buy time to figure out solutions. I heard some PTAs are organizing food drives and sending kids home with grocery store gift cards. Perhaps if more people did this, it will make the decision to close a bit easier for these mayors and they can do what public health requires them to do now.

    • Jennifer says...

      Here’s a bright note regarding this: our public schools here in Memphis, TN have closed for the next two weeks but I just saw a post on Instagram that said they are preparing packaged lunches that families can pick up to make it through the next two weeks (or more). My heart swelled at this and I hope to be able to help with that effort – we are fortunate that we don’t need this service but many of my son’s friends at school do, so I was glad they are proactively addressing this.

    • Susan Laurnell Young says...

      The role of public schools in the lives of low-income families is tremendous and yet it is something that our society fails to recognize. Continued blessings to the administrations and staffs of these schools who do the work that needs to be done in the interest of our children.
      Voice of a former school administrator in a low income area

  51. Jasmine H says...

    I’m 36 weeks pregnant. I am anxious about delivering, about my newborn’s safety, about being able to get formula should she not latch (it’s been sold out the last two times I’ve tried to buy it this week). My husband and I both teach in elementary schools that haven’t yet closed, and that makes me feel like we are at an increased risk of exposure.

    In general, I am anxious about having enough supplies to survive the newborn haze and provide for my family (I have a two year old, my husband, and my brother in law in my house). So many supplies are sold out.

    To top things off, my MIL was diagnosed literally yesterday with late-onset lupus, making her one of the high-risk immunocompromised. I am so worried that either my husband, myself, or my two year old that she watches will contact the virus and be fine, but unknowingly pass it on to her during the incubation period.

    A week ago, I felt informed but fine. Today, I feel an overwhelming amount of anxiety and this unspeakable weight. It is hard to feel hopeful in this exact moment, but I am trying to create space for optimism.

    • Jessica says...

      If at all possible, try stocking up for your baby supplies from online sellers. You may have to pay a bit more to get it delivered, but that my be the surest, safest way to get those supplies, so they are there if you need it. Think of things like a supply of formula, diapers, baby wash, wipes, etc. You may want to have extra face cloths on hand which are nice to use as wipes too.

      If this is your first baby, and you are worried about latching, I highly recommend reading up on breastfeeding technique in advance. There are lots of great resources online to demonstrate the right technique. I did this before my first, even practiced with a toy, and it was so helpful to help me feel more comfortable in getting the positioning right when my daughter arrived. A lot of times, issues with latching are about finding the right position, holding the babies head so their mouth is at the right angle. Sometimes, during the early colostrum days, you may need to hand express a bit and spoon feed it to your baby, which your nurse can help you learn to do (I did this early on until the milk started flowing. She didn’t love one of my boobs at first, but that quickly passed once my milk came in). Breastfeeding is a bit of a learning curve, but it is super doable, with a little help. So try not to stress about it, there’s no reason to expect in advance you won’t get it. Take advantage of the knowledge of your nursing/lactation staff around you, if you have access to that, and moms you know who can help. Sometimes, all it takes is someone physically helping you manoeuvre the baby in the right spot and helping you put your nipple in baby’s mouth. Technique is everything!

    • Candy says...

      Jessica’s right — check online, especially with big box retailers like Target and Walmart, because they have established better supply chains for all their stores than smaller businesses. Even if your local Target or whatever is sold out, you can usually still get items online delivered, I’ve discovered.

    • Jen says...

      What part of the country are you in? We have a group in the North Texas area that meets for breastfeeding support. Le Leche League. The groups are all over the country and often times have online support like facebook for answering questions rapidly. I would say try to stay calm. If latching isn’t working at first in the first few days worst case try to express the milk into a cup or spoon and medicine dropper it into the babies mouth. Remember the baby is going to eat very little at a time in those first few days and be some what sleepy. Best of luck to you and your family! xo

    • Beth says...

      That must be so stressful, Jasmine. I read about the book, The Nursing Mother’s Companion, on COJ—it was a lifesaver for me. So helpful to read before giving birth and to use as a resource throughout nursing. I can’t recommend it enough. Take care and hang in there. Sending love.

  52. annie says...

    just want to say: donate money or food to your local food pantries, everyone who can! the great and horrible thing about this is we are all in it together. it honestly makes me feel better, even while it’s scary and the consequences are real. any amount you can help someone else, just go ahead and do it. XO

    • Beth says...

      Denver readers: the Denver Public Schools Foundation has set up an emergency food fund. Please consider donating. I’m sure other school districts around the country are setting up similar funds.

  53. Mika says...

    I work in a dental office in California as a registered dental hygienist. Since last week, in my office, we are not allowed to change masks on every patient. Dental professionals are exposed to all kinds of germs and viruses on hourly basis and it makes me very concerned that we might get sick from wearing the same masks all day everyday for a while without changing due to the shortage of masks. We have to touch those contaminated masks every time when we take off and put on our faces.
    I try my best to get enough rest, eat better, and drinking more water and hot tea.

    I have my family in Japan and I was going to see them including my 88 year-old grandmother this early summer. I would probably have to cancel my trip and I’m sad about it.

    I really hope things get better soon and until then I would like to enjoy a little things and every moment with my husband two daughters. We are going to do some gardening this spring/summer and excited about it.

  54. Julia says...

    We are in Seattle and our world seems to be shrinking by the minute. Our kids will now be out of school for the next 7 weeks and my husband is not able to work in his office for weeks to come. It is utterly overwhelming. We are trying to figure out how to do this whole social distancing thing as it will save lives (https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca) and also maintain our sanity. This whole thing feels surreal and I worry so much that we will look back and wish we had made different decisions – like stop working in-office sooner, leave Seattle and go somewhere “safe”, stock up more on the essentials like toilet paper and chocolate! Ha! Thinking of you all and grateful for this wonderful community.

  55. Casey says...

    I live in Birmingham, AL. We believe there are many cases in our state, although we’ve yet to confirm a positive test. Which is a weird feeling. On one hand you think you’re safe, but you also know it’s false and are waiting for that ball to drop. Any minute. We are behind on testing. We just received some test kits less than a week ago.

    People are beginning to work from home, and there are schools beginning to close. I work in healthcare sales and we are being asked not to visit doctors offices.

    I really hope the grocery stores don’t close! And, like you, believe we will find ways to take care of each other during this season.

    Thanks for the post!

    • AJ says...

      Casey, my sister was exposed Thursday to someone testing positive Friday morning. She lives in SE ALA and is health compromised and now working from home. I live in ATL and most are in agreement that it has been floating around for weeks . The most recent cases here have no connections to travel or working in healthcare, so they are considered community cases. I was in South Alabama on Thursday and Friday to see my parents ( in their 80’s) and outside of stocking up on TP, many seem in complete denial and feel this isn’t a serious thing. They will be in church today with all of the elderly who attend, still believing a president who made light of this for several weeks!

  56. Gretta says...

    I own a bakery in the southern part of the US. Today was the day everyone got serious about the virus, and things have finally started being cancelled. I’m worried that we will have to close and that we won’t be able to pay our employees. I’m worried that my business partners and I won’t be able to pay ourselves. I’m worried about debt and paying overhead and so terribly jealous of the people who can work from home, business as usual. I’m not particularly worried about getting sick myself, even though I’m 26 weeks pregnant. I hate not knowing what to anticipate, and I hate the unknown of how bad it will get, when it will end, and how financially ruinous it will be.

  57. Nori says...

    Hi Cup of Jo team :) Thank you so much for creating this space. I’m based in Thailand for work at the moment and my folks are in California and D.C. I’m honestly feeling quite rattled for them and I do feel quite helpless that I can’t do something to protect them. Even if I flew back to the States now, I would most likely be putting them and others at higher risk. It’s helped to call and text every day to make sure they have enough of their medication and know that they’re avoiding crowded areas. I’ve also talked about it openly with my boss, colleagues, and friends, and it does provide some relief. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. Feeling a lot less alone. x

  58. Anne says...

    I am a Danish international MA student in Australia (Melbourne) and sadly, from my point a view and as a Danish citizen, it does not seem like the Australian government takes the coronavirus as seriously as it should. A student at my university (and campus) has been identified with the virus and while official health protocol has been followed to monitor the situation, the university remains open. Other universities and schools however in Victoria (and other parts of Australia) have closed down temporarily as a way to prevent further outbreaks and increase of spread (despite they have also followed official health protocol). Organisations, companies and individuals all have a common responsibility to act preventive, concerningly it seems like the Australian government is more concerned with economics as opposed to the public’s health. Same goes for my university – international students is one of the largest economies in Australia and the sector is currently facing major financial loss. Looking at one happens though in other countries around the world (including my home country Denmark) it is better and more safe in the long term to temporarily close down campus and conduct online teaching compared to doing it later on where more students and staff (most likely) will be diagnosed with the illness. It is preventive action that will decrease further disease spreading. This is also why I decided to study from home today (even though I have a lecture and the university encourages students coming to class at the very campus a student earlier this week as identified with coronavirus), I take immune boosting vitamins and remember to wash hands frequently (especially after being in public areas). My family in Denmark is in good health though both of my parents are above 60 years. Due to the Danish government’s precociousness, I do not worry about any of my relatives being transmitted now everyone are forced to self-isolate at home. My Australian partner who lives around Brisbane is coming day this weekend to stay for the next couple of weeks in case domestic flight/travel will be abandoned in the coming days/weeks. Overall, I am in good spirit, try to share positive energy with the people I am in contact with, however people are very affected by the impact of the virus – there are many small business and café owners in my neighborhood, they already feel financial loss as a result of fewer customers because of the virus.

  59. L says...

    My 75-year-old dad, who has some undiagnosed mental issues (occasional delusions but mostly lucid) is not being as vigilant as the rest of my family, and this stresses me out. Trying to convince him to wash his hands as soon as he returns home and to not take public transportation (to Manhattan of all places) has been a challenge. He is diabetic as well. He lives near me, with my mom, and she is constantly having to disinfect doorknobs and things in her own house.

    Typically they watch my kids after school, and now with our school closing next week I don’t feel great about them staying there while my husband and I work from home. But of course mostly I don’t feel great about him out and about since he and my mom are older.

  60. C says...

    I am a nurse in Canada, working primarily with homeless and vulnerable populations, as well as with elderly in the hospital. Currently in the process of applying for COVID relief positions. Things are escalating fairly quickly in my province. Healthcare phone lines and emergency rooms are very strained with people seeking information and testing. While I don’t think that panicking is ever helpful, I am concerned for my patients and colleagues. Hope everyone stays safe & sane!

    • SG says...

      Thank-you to all our healthcare workers from the bottom of this fellow Canadian’s heart! Bless you through this!

    • Sandy says...

      Another Canadian here. Gosh, we are so fortunate to have the healthcare system that we do, thanks in part to workers like you – Thank you!! Sending strength! Stay safe!

  61. I work in retail (big box, big corporation retail – Target ain’t closing for anything) so I’m honestly super stressed. It was BANANAS busy today – lines all the way to the middle of the store – so people are most definitely not staying home and it’s making me sad and anxious. I have insurance – as a team lead in guaranteed my hours – but a big portion of my team does not. People are being careless by panic shopping, and we’ll be the ones to bear the brunt of that.

    I said to my boss about how I was seeing people say the best way to stop the spread is to stay home from work and I was like “HA HA I work big box retail guess I’ll just die then.” He agreed that he felt the same – that corporate offices are going to start closing, but we’ll still be at Target, on the front lines I guess. :/

  62. I work in retail (big box, big corporation retail – Target ain’t closing for anything) so I’m honestly super stressed. It was BANANAS busy today – lines all the way towards the middle of the store – so people are most definitely NOT staying home and it’s making me sad and anxious. I have insurance – as a team lead I’m guaranteed my hours – but a large portion of my team do not. People are being careless panic shopping, and we’ll be the ones to bear the brunt of that.

    I said to my boss about how I was seeing things about how the best way to stop the spread was to stay HOME and I was like “HA HA I work big box retail guess I’ll just die then.” He agreed that he felt the same – that corporate offices are going to start closing, but we’ll all be here, on the front lines. :/

    • ME says...

      I’m sorry. I have thought of cashiers. I plan to do curbside delivery.

    • Ellen says...

      We appreciate you tremendously. I’m a nurse and am nervous about being on the front lines too. Stay safe, my friend. Thank you for your patience and for continuing to show up to help us all. ❤️

  63. Lilla says...

    These feel like surreal times. All schools/daycares in my county are suspended for 2 weeks, so starting tomorrow I will be working from home alongside my 9 month old and 4 year old. My workplace (corporation) is being very accommodating and encouraging people to work remotely. I am so very lucky to have an Au Pair who lives with us and who can essentially take care of my kids while my husband and I work, but I know for the vast majority of people this is hugely disruptive. Honestly though I think it is the best thing we can do at this point- extreme social distancing- because we can’t even know if we have the virus! On Valentines day I suddenly came down with something terrible- I had the chills, aches and pains, and a horrible cough. I then got pneumonia. These are textbook symptoms for the virus. Thankfully now I am recovered, but I wonder did I have it? Did I unwittingly spread it? I asked my doctor- and she was like “Probably not, but its possible.” I will never know- it was impossible to be tested.
    I am so mad at our government here in the US, I look at other countries way more prepared than we, and I feel like our government failed us. Hardly anyone is being tested- how can we contain it? We are relying on state and local government now to lead the way.
    Ultimately for us this will be an inconvenience. Really, I lose sleep at night thinking of my parents, who are both in their seventies and living in the East Coast epicenter New Rochelle. They are finally starting to change their behavior- avoiding large group meetings and public transit into Manhattan- but it has taken numerous phone calls and nagging on my part- they are so set in their ways. I am so scared they will contract it and it will be devastating.
    Wishing everyone hope, grace and patience as we ride this storm out.

    • JoLynn says...

      Lilla,
      I’m genuinely curious. What things do you think the US Government should have done? How could they have handled it better?
      Thank you for your reply,

  64. Annie says...

    Hello from Singapore! Small little red dot on the map. It’s been high alert for us from approximately six weeks ago. My emotions run back and forth as I have a child with congenital heart issues and the worry is that any bug with the ability to impact your respiratory system could wreck havoc. I also try not to let this anxiety creep into the younger ones as I don’t want them to be fearful.

    What I have found to help them, and myself:
    * Spending more time talking about germs in general and using the confetti experiment to explain how germs spread super easily.
    * The sight of everyone in masks can be pretty unnerving, so it helps to explain to the little ones why masks are necessary and how they work.
    * Arming myself with knowledge on what would happen if I did have to get tested. In Singapore, the process is rather systematic — everyone gets free testing and the results are out within a day. If positive, you get admitted into an isolation ward till you recover with 2 consecutive tests showing negative results. The contact tracing team then begins tracking down people whom you have been in touch with, and get them to self-quarantine at home for two weeks. The rules are enforced quite strictly.
    * Sometimes, I take a day off the Internet and not look at the numbers and statistics. The whole family spends the day in the outdoors and does a reset.
    * Looking outwards instead of inwards. The kids’ kindergarten have taken to making thank-you cards and posters for medical workers to teach appreciation and gratitude. A good reminder while we are all trying to avoid the bug, there are people staring down at this thing all day long.
    * Being kind and patient with everyone. We are truly all in this together. I had a colleague who was working from home with both children affected school closures right next to him. He was on the phone with a client (from another Asian city), and she remarked towards the end, “My, it sounds lively over there. I have my kids home here too. This isn’t easy eh?”

    We are in this together, slowly and surely, we will heal and get through this. Seven weeks and counting (with no clear end in sight), let’s keep each other in our prayers. x.

    • Liz says...

      I have a question. Who takes care of the kids if caretakers get sick? What happens in Singapore?I live in Vietnam.

    • Annie says...

      Hi Liz, the other parent takes over, or grandparents or extended family or neighbous even! If a child is positive for the virus, one parent is allowed into isolation at the hospital with the child, especially if he/she is young.

  65. Helena K says...

    Thank you so much for asking!
    I’m living in Norway and this morning all schools, kindergarten, bars and museums got closed for at least 14 days. Same with all public events. Coffee bars and restaurants are allowed to keep open for now, as long as they can follow the 6 feets between each person-rule.
    People have started hoarding food, in a matter of two hours most of the shelves in every grocery store in Oslo was completely empty. There is also put out restrictions on paracetamol as it’s almost sold out.

    However, I am doing fine. I’m working as a freelance photographer and it’s risky, but I am lucky enough to have my family in my back if anything happens so that is a safety at least. What I am worrying about is my stepmom who is going through a rough chemo treatment, then she has a surgery and after that she has a heavy radiation and hormonal treatment. This means she has no immune system at the moment and won’t have that for the next few months either. Her daughters are still very young and the oldest one lost her dad to cancer when she was a baby. This means that if my stepmom catches the COVID-19 virus and most likely won’t make it, one of her daughters will be left with no parent. And in moments like this I’m so thankful for the family I’m born into, my dad’s first instinct was to offer to adopt both of the girls so they will have one parent together and won’t have to be separated if worst case scenario happens. It’s a surreal situation but it is a scenario we are forced to think about.

    So yes, we are doing fine, we are taking care of people around us, working as a community to help each other out during these weeks. Keeping each other motivated and doing what we can to help provide this from spreading. And then we are crying a little because you can see that people are actually caring for each other.

    Oh, and yes, I have to go and get some wine tomorrow.

  66. Tanya says...

    You should consider using your blog to promote aggressive social distancing
    Cancel everything – travel, sports, showers, weddings, non essential travel
    I just cancelled a family vacation to the Caribbean
    It’s not forever
    It will flatten the curve of spread and allow healthcare and first responders to deal with the infection and save lives

    https://www.newsweek.com/young-unafraid-coronavirus-pandemic-good-you-now-stop-killing-people-opinion-1491797

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/science/coronavirus-curve-mitigation-infection.html

  67. Martha says...

    I’m feeling really down today… my city is doing bad now and I live abroad, so I’m not there. I’m alone preparing myself to pass the next weeks or the time it lasts alone far from my family and boyfriend… Can not go home or see my beloved ones and don’t know for how long it’s gonna be.

    • Bonnie says...

      Sending you love and strength!

  68. kel says...

    Hello to all,
    I will be 60 in May and live on Cape Cod. I work for a Boston Eye group and commute off Cape. So far with a few cases in Boston and things beginning to close, cases here are not many or not known. My worry is that the Cape has many older residents that could be hit very hard if we don’t start taking critical precautions now. Everyone can take their own steps to help this very vulnerable group no matter where you live.

  69. Irene says...

    i live in northern italy, quite close to the very first outbreak in europe. following the government provisions, we cannot leave our homes and when we do (just to buy some groceries) we wear surgical masks: realizing that i was not able to see other people’s faces has probably been one of the hardest moments these days. nevertheless, all over the country children have begun to hang banners at the windows – colorful rainbows with the writing “andrà tutto bene”, meaning “everything will be fine”, and i’m spotting a handful of them outside my terrace right now. andrà tutto bene, i do believe that.

    “it’s not us who built the sky” – m. gualtieri

    • Anna says...

      this is so beautiful – thank you and hang in.

    • Sam says...

      This is incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Simona says...

      Ciao Irene! I am currently at home alone in Lucca; where are you from? Tomorrow I will go out for the first day in a week as I am running out of groceries.. and I am scared. It feels so surreal what we are going through.. fortunately I am working (hard) from home and time passes super fast still.. I feel so sad and powerless; yet so very proud of our Country and feel so much more
      Connected to everyone as we are all going through the same.
      Everything will be fine, I believe it too.

    • Justine says...

      This made me tear up on the bus. Thank you for the reminder that it will get better.

    • joana says...

      love and strength to you, irene! <3

    • Ailsa says...

      evertheless, all over the country children have begun to hang banners at the windows – colorful rainbows with the writing “andrà tutto bene”, meaning “everything will be fine”,

      This is so lovely. Thank you for sharing.

    • Nina says...

      Such a beautiful image of those colorful banners during these dark times. All the best to you and the people of Italy.

    • stasha says...

      Hello! I was planning to come from Minnesota to visit Piedmont for two weeks. Unfortunately, my trip is now cancelled but I look forward to visiting in the future, supporting small businesses in the region, and appreciating all the wonderful culture and food of Italy. Everything will be fine indeed.

    • Angy says...

      Oh this made me tear up too! Thanks for sharing. May I ask where the last Gualtieri quote comes from? It’s just so Perfect!! Sending love. Xx

    • Liz says...

      There are so so many comments on this post that made me cry. This being one of them. Be still my heart. Everything will be fine. Joanna, I don’t know how you get any work done. I’d just be sitting and sobbing, my heart full of love.

    • Irene says...

      @simona: writing from modena, and home alone as well :) i live in a very busy street and right now the only thing i can hear are the birds chirping. keeping all of you in my thoughts.

    • Claire says...

      Oh I just love this. I would love to see a photo of the banners in the windows.
      thank you for sharing, Irene. Wishing you, and all of Italy, well!

  70. Heidi says...

    My daughter is studying abroad in England and her university is strongly encouraging her to return home in the next week. We are now scrambling to make arrangements to get her back.

    • Allison Pelle says...

      Hi Heidi! I’m a young, healthy American living in London. Happy to offer support or resources where I can for your daughter! allison.pelle@gmail.com

  71. Kate says...

    I just moved with my family to France from the US and are weathering this storm while trying to get acclimated in a new country. I am missing and worrying about my mom back home who is alone after losing my father unexpectedly one year ago. Taking it one day at a time and trying my best not to read the news at night. Reading everyone’s comments here is such a comfort, if just to remind that we are not alone, however lonely these next weeks and months will feel.

  72. I have not read every comment, but a good majority and I feel both a little more concerned and a little less. This is like a giant support group of people concerned about the everyday realities of this situation and how wonderful humanity can be when we need to band together. It is like a giant internet hug. I’m a therapist on my first day back at work following maternity leave – my baby was 3 months old yesterday. Thank you for asking, Joanna!

  73. Lesleigh says...

    I am in Italy on lockdown with my husband and toddler. I have not been to work in 3 weeks and won’t go back for at least another 3 weeks.

    Italian lockdown is serious, but not too crazy, we can go to the supermarket, outside for walks and to the park as long as we stay at least 1 meter away from people.

    I’d love a post about how to keep cozy, safe, happy and sane while at home for an extended period of time with a toddler…

    • Bonnie says...

      “with a toddler”!! yes! helpful ideas, please!

    • Jill says...

      You might like the Instagram account @busytoddler for this purpose!

    • Julia says...

      I have also been cooped up with a very active toddler in Seattle. My midwife recommended going to parks (grassy areas, not playgrounds) and letting him run around to get his energy out. When we’re at home, I’ve been having him climb the stairs a lot (he’s just mastered this and loves it) and I also have one of those little tunnels that he enjoys crawling through. I think getting as much physical activity in as possible is helping him a lot. I’m considering buying one of those Pikler triangles that I see everywhere, but they are so pricey and now doesn’t feel like a good time to be spending that kind of money.

      I would love to hear other people’s ideas too!

  74. Jill says...

    I live in Nebraska and feel afraid. I’m worried about families who will be scrambling for childcare if/when schools close (I agree with those decisions but I also know it creates new problems for some); and I’m wondering what will happen to students who receive free breakfast/lunch at schools. How will those meals be replaced? Will they get enough to eat?

    My mom has a serious lung disease similar to COPD and would not recover from Covid-19. My husband works for Bayer and travels to St Louis every week, but they have halted employee travel so he’s working from home. Many of his European colleagues who go back and forth for two weeks at a time will be stuck in the US or stuck in Europe and unable to get to the US.

  75. Kate says...

    Thank you so much for this post. Reading the many, many comments that express compassion and concern for Community members who are most at risk—adults and children with compromised immune systems, workers without paid sick leave, children depending on school for regular meals, folks without health insurance, healthcare workers on the front lines, etc.—has lifted my spirit considerably.

  76. Anne says...

    I really love that no19 women’s wool cardigan in dark mist. Its kind of perfecct in every way.

  77. Lisa says...

    I’m in Ohio and the Governor just closed schools for 3 weeks. I wholeheartedly agree with this decision, but I also work at my daughter’s school so am able to be home with her, my husband is able to work from home, and I’m from a wealthy family so money isn’t a concern. I recognize my priviledge in this situation.

    But I’m also terrified. My daughter was born at 29 weeks and three years later has lasting health issues from that. Her lungs aren’t the best and her pediatrician really can’t tell us what would happen if she got sick. My mom has asthma and is in her 70s; her doctor told her to isolate herself and she likely would end up with pneumonia and would be at great risk of dying. My dad died three years ago and I honestly cannot imagine losing my mom.

    • Anna says...

      That’s so much to think about. Sending love to you! Hoping it bypasses your family!

    • Casey says...

      I’m taking food to my friend tomorrow whose daughter was born at 22 weeks! She’s 3 weeks old now! Every day has been a miracle for them and I remain hopeful there will be a tomorrow! I’ll include your daughter in my prayers tonight.

    • Liz says...

      I identify with all of this. The privilege, the premature daughter (mine is 4), the asthmatic mother. We are lucky, and yet it is terrifying. Best of luck and health to all of yours.

    • Lisa says...

      Thank you all so much. It feels better knowing we are not alone.
      Casey, I have a friend who had a little girl at 23 weeks. She is now 3 years old and while she has some pretty significant health concerns, she is also an amazing little light of joy. She walks, talks, laughs, and has a wonderful life. These little micropreemies are amazing fighters!

  78. Libby says...

    I’m in Alabama on a business trip, and am heading back to Texas tomorrow. I am dreading passing through Atlanta airport, because I know it’s a major hub, where there’s a greater risk for me to encounter illness. Once I get home, I’ll be working remotely, and have no plans to travel anytime soon.

  79. Denise says...

    I am public school teacher in the Seattle area. Our schools are closing for indefinite period of time. We were told to prepare for 5-6 weeks. That is an obvious drastic measure, that we have been waiting on for days. I wonder if the complacency comes from the fact that COVID-19 has not directly affected the majority of towns/cities/communities? Like anything, until it hits directly, it is easy to dismiss or ignore. Things got real REAL here, quickly. For those of you who have time to prepare-think about your contingency plans, find child or elder care if you will need it, add a few shelf stable foods to your grocery list, and begin to understand what social distancing will mean for you and your family. Be well. Spread Kindness.

  80. Sarah says...

    I really appreciate this space and for this post, Joanna and team. Thank you for asking, caring, and sharing about your experience. For so many of us, this blog is the safe space we look to in the best and worst of times. XO

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that means so much to me, sarah. thank you so much. xo

    • E says...

      In Australia and currently self isolating, so nervous. Sore throat and mild sniffle but not super sick. We got an email yesterday advising that an attendee at a conference my partner attended for work tested positive for COVID-19. We had swabs done yesterday and will get results in a few days. According to Dr it’s highly likely we’ll be okay and it’s just a cold but don’t want to be unknowingly spreading the virus around to more vulnerable friends, family and community so bunkering down till results are in. Hugging my tiny seven month old extra tight.

    • Casey says...

      Yep! I came to this blog amidst all the chaos looking for such a post! Thank you, Joanna!

  81. bethany says...

    It’s been a very surreal week and a half. I live in Nashville, TN, and as most of you may know, we were hit hard by a tornado last week and several of the restaurants and businesses we frequent in East Nash and Germantown were severely damaged. Today I’ve heard from friends who are servers and bartenders that the city council is contemplating asking all restaurants to close for the next 2 – 4 weeks.

    All of this is happening as my husband and I are getting ready to move back to Chicago at the beginning of April for a new job. We were hoping to visit all of our favorite places (and our friends!) before we go, but we’re not going to be able to and that feels awful. The timing is breaking my heart a little.

    • Rose says...

      Bethany, I’m in Nashville too. Thankfully my home/family was unaffected by the tornado other than it touching down a street away from my sister. I have many friends who have severely damaged homes. I’m a mental health counselor and between the tornado and coronavirus, the anxiety I’ve been seeing in my clients is so greatly increased. Surreal is exactly the word for it. Wishing you as much closure as you’re able to get before you move back to Chicago <3

  82. Kim says...

    My wedding is currently scheduled for end of April in California and I’m from the East Coast so most people are flying in (or at least half..). IDK what to do! I almost wish I knew I had to postpone at this point (it’s starting to feel that way at least). I just feel bad for all of my family and friends that have booked non-refundable travel. We have another week or so to decide and I fully recognize that if this is my biggest worry than I am lucky but it still sucks. It’s a lot of stress and unknown and the feeling you get when other people are sad for you but you don’t want them to be (hurts my heart!) because it’s going to (eventually) be fine! I have a co-worker in Hong Kong who emailed me yesterday that life there is already starting to resemble a new normal and feel more calm. So I just keep telling myself that the world is not ending and staying home for a month isn’t so bad (especially if it keeps vulnerable people safer) and that the world will keep spinning…

    • Daisy says...

      Almost all airlines are offering future travel credit or no fee change of travel dates. So hopefully no one will lose money on their flight tickets.Hugs to you.

    • Shirley says...

      Kim, I encourage you to please go ahead and postpone. Your guests will understand and you will probably be too stressed from all of this to truly enjoy it the way you deserve to. Chances are airlines, may cancel flights anyway and you don’t want to wait until the last minute. You also don’t want to ever look back to see that a loved one caught illness during this time and wonder if it was because they traveled to your wedding. I hope that your vendors will be understanding and allow you to reschedule without penalty. But you can recover money- you can’t recover loved ones. Just my 2 cents. Sending lots of love to you during this difficult time, and congrats on the nuptials whenever they do happen (and they WILL happen!)

    • t says...

      Kim, so stressful! I can only imagine. I am the reverse; we are supposed to go to NYC from CA at the end of this month for a wedding. My spouse is the officiant, my kids are in the wedding and the bride isn’t cancelling….

  83. Lynn says...

    I’m an American based in London and things are fairly calm here. From what I can tell most people around me are being smart and cautious but also not adding to hysteria. Given the healthcare system and the experience with SARS and swine I am more confident that the UK is better equipped to deal w the reality that most of us will get this. Speaking to a GP last week she mentioned that the providers assume we will all get it and it’s really focusing on slowing the eventual and treating the most severe cases. I’m grateful for the socialised healthcare system that can be better coordinated and directed. I have fellow colleagues who’s family in the us are encouraging them to return and frankly the US is the last place I want to be given the lack of testing capabilities and lack of preparation to handle en mass

    • jdp says...

      we were supposed to fly to london on the 27th from california and have just about decided to cancel, but maybe we should go as an evacuation rather a vacation. (evacacation?) it’s probably worse here than there….

  84. Katrine says...

    Here in Denmark the country is shutting down as of tomorrow. In an effort to flatten the curve all public institutions – schools, daycare, libraries etc. will close. All sport activities are cancelled. All employees in our public sector – Except anyone working in hospitals and other critical jobs- have been sent home (with full salary) for 14 days so far. There will be emergency day care arranged for those who have to work. I guess this is all possible because healthcare and education institutions are public here. I work in the private sector and am able to work from home, many companies have asked employees to work from home. Our daughter is 8 months old and my husband is on parental leave so we don’t have any prolems due to the closed daycare. Shops are open but some people have begun hoarding food even though there’s no need to.

  85. Julsa says...

    At this stage in Poland, we have all schools closed as well as cinemas, museums etc even tough it seemed surreal just a 3 or 4 days ago. People are asked to stay at home as much as possible – cancel trips, avoid public transport but also family/friends gatherings at restaurants and (!) home. For now it is actually up to us if the virus will spread. There is no reason to panic now, just focus to counteract. And on the positive side, it’s a great excuse for a longer quality time with your loved ones. Take a gentle care of yourselves <3

  86. Ceridwen says...

    I went to a concert last night with friends. We had texted before hand with “should we go?” Should we be at a public gathering. My friend, a scientist, said for the first time she had been worried but then decided so long as we wash our hands, keep distance, etc. It was a small sized event and here, so far, things like this were not closed. We went out for drinks and dinner then to the concert. The musician Laura Marling played her beautiful, long haunting songs. Everyone in the audience respectfully quiet. The other thing was the way everyone politely kept their distance from one another, tip toeing around the space like in a ballet. Everyone was being extra courteous and considerate. There was also this almost nostalgic feeling, that this could be the last event for a while and maybe we will all be in our homes soon, separated. It was an unusual atmosphere. It was quite beautiful too and showed the good in people. We are all in this together, sharing this space. But we are all waiting and trusting we will be told what to do. Take care everyone xx

    • jdp says...

      i love this post. thanks for writing about. theatre and music and the arts and the libraries — these are the losses we will feel most acutely.

  87. The post is an eye opener for what would happen to the world if COVID19 isn’t taken care of in time.
    I am from India and the situation here has started to get bad. 74 cases have been reported as of today and more to come. The schools were already ordered to be shut down till 31 March followed by colleges and theatres. It seems really scary to think that “what if it happens to a loved one?” Or worse “to me”! I am particularly worried about those who are still working in offices and can’t go for a ‘work from home’ thing because of the nature of their jobs. I have even written a post raising my concern for these people and suggested them tips to stay protected. India is huge in population and if the situation is not controlled in time the outbreak will be nothing less than an epidemic. You can visit my blogpost to know how things are in our country. Thanks.

  88. Sara says...

    I am not panicked, but just concerned at this point. I’ve talked a lot to my kiddos about it because knowledge=power and I don’t want them to be afraid. I am frustrated though, that 24 people were transferred to Asilomar Conference Grounds in the town where I live (Pacific Grove, CA). We have zero cases in Monterey County and I am struggling to understand why these people were brought to a community with a very high proportion of elderly folks, and only one hospital to serve multiple cities from the Bay Area, which has better hospital access. I know they must be under a lot of stress and I don’t blame them, I just wish the state had explained their reasoning behind the decision, because it just seems ridiculous.

    • t says...

      Your comment seems very entitled. I’m in San Diego where they also transferred several quarantined and infected cruise passengers and I never had that thought.

    • S says...

      Sara, chances you are do have cases in Monterey but due to the lack of testing, it is not being accurately reported. Hang in there.

    • Nancy says...

      It sounds like you just want information and that’s perfectly ok. Facts and explaining the rationale for these kinds of decisions go a long way in helping ease concerns. It’s unfortunate that state officials did not provide you that. I’m in Denver, btw, and we just opened one of the first drive-through testing facilities in the U.S. In addition, we had a virtual town hall for our suburban counties with medical professionals that lasted two hours. I so appreciate feeling our state and local government is responsive!

  89. Stacey says...

    My 12-year old daughter started feeling sick at school today (nothing serious – she’s home now and feeling okay). While the teacher was outside the classroom, the boys in the class started yelling at her that she had coronavirus, putting their shirts over their noses and mouths, and started cleaning her desk with antiseptic wipes. She struggled very hard not to cry. We all need to speak to our children about how to treat others throughout the very difficult days before us.

    • Daisy says...

      Yeah almost had a similar experience from my 9 year old who came back from school and started saying things like- Stay away from Chinese. Why do they eat bag soup etc. He obviously picked it up from other kids because we don’t even have cable TV and we do not watch News at home. I had to tell him over and over that his words were hurtful to help him understand.

    • Elise says...

      This broke my heart. Sending your daughter and you big big hugs…

    • Stacey says...

      Thank you to everyone who has commented. Reading every comment has made this day so much more bearable, so much better than reading all the “live updates” on NYT and CNN!

    • Ann says...

      A big hug to your lovely brave daughter. Tears would have been perfectly acceptable, but she fought them back for herself. What strength that took. I’m glad she is home and feeling better. As for those boys, I do hope the teacher who certainly heard the commotion, explained thoughtfulness versus trying to get a laugh at someone’s expense. Stay healthy :)

  90. b says...

    it would be really great if we could all quit blaming the young people for the spread of this virus. in reality it is spreading and we don’t know why. people who have been quarantined before coming into contact with the virus are testing positive while in quarantine.

    in my opinion — living under an hr away from Seattle, the news coverage here has shown those being irresponsible after testing positive with coronavirus are the older people (40 plus). maybe we shouldn’t just tell youngsters they are being irresponsible, maybe we should try being honest. everyone needs to be careful. we each need to take ownership in our health.

    • b says...

      this is my comment. and i really apologize for the biteyness above. i’m getting scared, the world is closing down and all we can do is sit and wait it out.

      i’m sorry for being rude. thank you ladies for your truthfulness. the world really is a beautiful, small & scary place.

      thoughts of you all

  91. Melissa says...

    I had a hard time naming how I was feeling until yesterday. I have felt sick, tired, bummed out, not 100% and I thought I was fighting some low level bug until I realized…..this is my anxiety peeking through. Not peeking – glaring, demanding to be heard. I generally feel better about things when I have facts, but in reading the facts, it only makes me more anxious so I’m kind of in this whirlpool of anxiety right now. And it feels like an enormous sloth on my back…heavy, slow moving and creepy. I just feel like we’re all waiting – waiting to get sick? waiting to be sent home? waiting for schools to close? Sorry to be so morose… I saw your post and having recently been able to put a name to what I was feeling I hoped it might help others see they aren’t alone in their anxiety. This too shall pass…

    • Megan says...

      This resonated so much with me – thank you for sharing it!

    • Sarah says...

      I feel exactly the same. I had a pounding headache all day and felt like something was coming on until I realized it was entirely my anxiety creeping in (or crashing, as the case may be). I live in Vienna, Austria and they’ve cancelled school from next Wednesday until the week after Easter. Hoping to be somewhat productive over the next month while embracing plenty of downtime with the kiddos in our own bubble.

    • riye says...

      Same here! “Slow moving and creepy” sums it up perfectly. I thought I was handling it pretty well too (I work with scientists so everybody is trying hard to do the right thing) but, like Melissa , I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so crummy. Everybody please take care of yourselves and others. We don’t need blame right now–we need smart behavior and kindness.

      P.S. It didn’t help that the tax preparer’s office called this week with all kinds of questions!

    • Daniela says...

      This really resonated with me. I have a lot of anxiety in general and sometimes can’t tell if I’m anxious or just cranky/tired/whatever and I loved how you described it. And I love the phrase this too shall pass :)

    • Rebecca says...

      Yes Melissa! Me too. A few minutes before I read this I googled “does anxiety make you tired?” But I already knew the answer. Thanks for helping me feel less alone in my anxiety.

    • Kendall says...

      I’m feeling that way too – even my body temp is up! So hard to keep anxiety under control when you really go down the path.

      Deep breaths and feel some breeze on my face … that seems to help…

      We’re all feeling it.