Corona Virus Diary

Back to work today. We’re a startup with only 4 people, and I’m the only software engineer, so pretty busy. Pretty lucky to have solid backing to weather this storm. The stock market dropped nearly 13 points today which was a bit terrifying. We are fortunate, again, in our particular financial position but still a bit alarming.

Got our first ‘confirmed’ case of Corona infection in Frederick county. Seems to be  a community contamination (i.e. not from someone who traveled to, say, Italy). Not really a shock, as we know how ludicrously bad the testing has been.

One of my four colleagues at the firm had a fever on Friday and took the day off. Felt well enough to work today although had a cough on several of our remote meetings. We are fully remote at this point, don’t even have an office, so fortunate in that regard. He hasn’t had a fever for a few days and, given the lack of testing and his improved condition, he will likely never know if he had COVID-19. Testing is supposed to ramp up today and likely will reveal some alarming numbers in the coming weeks, but is still reserved for symptomatic and at-risk populations.

The head of our firm met with us from California, having flown there to help a friend whose teenage son needed supervision after his father had been quarantined and trapped in Spain. He had some question as to the incubation period of this virus. He hopes to isolate himself for at least a few days to ensure he did not contract something in transit. In truth, he probably would need to do that for at least one week, if not two, to be sure. A little concerned about him spreading the virus, and frankly, his own health, as his continued health is likely vital to the startup I have found myself at during this crisis.

We remain fairly well stocked food-wise (and toilet-paper wise), but neighbor who was perhaps less prepared went to local grocery store and it was pretty bare. No milk, meat, or paper products. Wife was spooked enough to make on online order from a local farm for some meat and dairy products for delivery near the end of the week. They will deliver, which reduces contamination risk and helps to support a local farm, so we’ll see how that works out. Perhaps it will become a long-term thing for us once we all get through this.

Wife got in a pretty nasty argument with in-laws who are “snow-birding” in Florida. Had some existing plans to fly into the Bahamas and help a friend sail their boat back to Florida. This means airports and planes when the country is trying to really lock down and prevent spread of the virus. They could very well find themselves trapped in Bahamas, which suffered through a bad hurricane last year, and has pretty meager medical facilities, not to mention the risk they put other Floridians at with their return. They don’t seem open to reason, so we can only hope some type of government intervention may disrupt the idea.

We feel a keen sense of civic responsibility to following guidelines laid out by CDC and other agencies to curtail the spread of the virus and, also, to protect our family. We are shocked at many other family members who express that the school and other shutdowns are an over-reaction. In Italy, today, I heard stories of running out of coffins and overrun morgues… if this is not enough to take action, what would be enough?

Wife spoke to her grandmother yesterday in an assisted living facility outside Baltimore. She had a cough throughout her phone conversation, which she dismissed as not being ‘used to talking that much’, but we are concerned. The facility, at this point, is generally locked down to visitors, but we remain concerned.

The news was stressful today, particularly as it concerns the stock market, but we are relatively safe so far. Took a walk with my wife and daughter at lunch time (first day of a 2-week shutdown of schools). Son had taken a run trying to stay in shape for his senior year outdoor track team, so he did not join us. We strenuously maintained a 6 foot zone. Kids seem pretty resilient. Certain there is some anxiety there, as would be expected, but trying our level best to stay calm and deal with it in a rational manner. Wife has been amazing trying to keep them busy focusing on school work and other endeavors, probably for her own sanity as well as theirs.

We have no faith in the Trump administration, but even he seemed to turn a corner today, acknowledging the risks and encouraging calm while following guidelines. Maybe this will help, but we will see. Disconcerted by posts from the twitter-sphere, but hope these are the exceptions and not the norm.

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