Ever catch yourself thinking “I wonder what it was like for my ancestors when…”? Well, if you wondered what it was like during the 1918 Flu Pandemic, you now have your first chance, up close and personal, to know what it was like.
My County Locked Down Over Two Months Ago
Lock down, quarantine, shelter at home…all strange phrases to most Americans.
How the world has changed! On March 16th, my county as well as the surrounding counties issued a stay at home order. Schools were closed for an extended Spring Break and non-essential businesses were shuttered.
Although I spend a lot of time at home due to chronic illness, there was something surreal about this.
Sure, I’m at home all day, but you people aren’t! I can usually hear the wheels of the city churning even if only from my living room or backyard.
Now, those wheels have stopped.
The First Day Was Strange
People in my neighborhood seemed to get the message right away. Although a couple of people could be seen running the track at the middle school and a family played at the park, the sidewalks and streets were empty.
There are usually cars in front of my house all day long, in and out, visiting neighbors, picking up kids. The street was deserted.
It was quiet…too quiet. Strange to have to get accustomed to quiet.
We’ve Adjusted To Our New Normal
My whole state went into lockdown a couple of days after my county. It’s been a period of adjustment for everyone.
We went through the wave of panic shopping almost the minute the orders were announced. I’m pretty sure some folks have enough toilet paper to last them through Christmas.
We went through the denial. People flooded beaches and trails thinking this was one big, jolly holiday. Thanks Californians. You got all the parks and beaches shut down for several weeks because of it.
But, this is our reality. For the most part, people are doing what they should. Neighbors are reaching out to neighbors. The state has enacted programs to help ease the pain.
We’ve watched the rate of hospitalizations and ICU visits rise, ebb, decline, rise. Many of us know someone infected. Some of us, like me, know someone who has died.
We’re All Masked Avengers Now
Well, it’s not that exciting. But, as our stay at home order is modified and extended, we have one more thing to deal with…masks. Everyone is required to wear them in public, especially when inside any building that isn’t your home.
I think the masks have been more difficult to adjust to than the sheltering. I made a t-shirt mask. The first time I wore it I thought I was going to suffocate.
In the end, we are stuck with this requirement, so might as well make the most of it. It’s the best thing we can do next to social distancing to slow the spread.
Our Ancestors Survived This And So Will We
As of this writing, over 100,000 Americans have lost their lives to this terrible virus. COVID-19 has impacted our lives in ways I did not think possible. As bad as it is, this really will pass as all viruses do, though it will be difficult until then.
One thought has helped me through this ordeal. My ancestors survived the 1918 flu epidemic. I bet many of yours did, too. If they didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be here.
That gives me hope. They watches loved ones get sick, die, recover. They quarantined. They wore masks. Someone they survived.
The areas that locked down the earliest had the best outcomes, not only with the disease, but economically. The areas that didn’t or lifted restrictions too soon? Their second wave was brutal, worse than the first.
So, as we experience this together, know that our ancestors were here before us. They made it through without the internet or Zoom or FaceTime.
We are inconvenience, but at least, we have these ways to stay in touch. We can talk, chat, and see each other’s faces every day from a distance if we want. That makes it a little easier to endure.
And, we have memes and parodies.
May we soon bend the curve, flatten the curve, dust ourselves off, and restart our lives.
Take care of yourselves…Together But Apart.