Coronavirus Tales


How has the coronavirus affected your daily life? Have questions for the hive mind? Tell us about what's being done at your work, in your city or town, your church. How are you adapting and what do you see around you?

In the US, it looks like today is the day that the White House and Congress start to take this seriously. It may be too late to prevent a large, overwhelming peak, or we may have enough time and will to put together a reasonable response without breaking the economy or the healthcare system. As Dr. Anthony Fauci put it, your life will need to change, significantly, for at least 2 months, and your behaviors with it.

How are you preparing, mentally and physically? This is a safe place for discussion.

Edit - Well, my optimism about the leadership taking it seriously was certainly of the moment, but definitely misplaced.

I work from home, so my day-to-day hasn't changed much. The stock market volatility has been extremely good for my employer, which certainly makes me feel weird. So far they're resisting making wholesale changes as far as letting the rest of employees work from home, which feels sh*tty to me. I think they want to ride this wave as long as they can, including continuing to bring in people to interview for a ton of open positions.

We have coronavirus patients at the local hospital just down the street from me, and I won't be surprised at all if I've been exposed to it, seeing as they think it's been spreading undetected for weeks around here. Unless and until I get sick, though, I'm not changing my routine much. I'm also in the middle of a move at the moment, so I'm stuck running errands and meeting with movers/leasing people/etc.

I think my University is getting ready to tell students to not to come back after Spring Break, maybe until April, maybe for the rest of the semester. They are telling us to come up with a way to transition our instruction online, and giving us about a day to figure out how to do that (again, without giving us a timeframe of how long that will be).

On the other hand, jeans and tee shirts to work for the foreseeable future?

Edit, Spring Break next week, then moving classes online for (at least) the next two weeks.


I'm working from home, too, have been for years, but I just got permission to cancel my in-person meetings for the foreseeable future. The company is being good about that and letting people make their own choices without sanction. Several of my friends there with immune problems have also made similar choices. I feel like it's a good policy.

We did have one Request For Information on several thousand laptops come across one of the catalog submission sites, a large government agency looking to allow their workers to relocate to home. Hopefully that's going to be the start of a trend, but we'll see. I understand many Senate Republicans are balking at anything out of the ordinary as a response, so who knows?

It's scary, dealing with loved ones who are immuno-compromised. We're hunkering down. That's why I started the thread. I have a suspicion a lot of us will have to take similar isolation measures, more or less, so maybe we can all exchange tips as well. Or at least vent and keep each other's spirits up.

No day-to-day impacts here yet. Kids are still in school, maybe only a couple of confirmed cases in St. Louis. We have had folks at work asked to work at home temporarily due to possible exposure while on travel, but no blanket policy directing people to work remotely. We do have that capability (I do it for an hour or so every morning) so it will be an easy transition if it does go that route.

We were seriously planning a trip to Greece this summer, we are probably putting that on hold for the time being. Partly due to cost, partly due to coronavirus concerns mainly from possible quarantines, travel restrictions, etc. while in Europe. I'm looking at maybe taking the family to Hawaii instead, mostly because it's (surprisingly) quite easy to have a great time without being anywhere near crowds. Except for the flights over.

My wife is a nurse at one of the major hospitals here, so that's probably our highest risk vector. She works maternity, not med/surg, but she's still in the hospital. As soon as cases spread there we'll have to be extra vigilant. My biggest worry would be my kids who all have a history of respiratory illness, but between mostly outgrowing it and COVID-19 apparently being pretty mild in kids I'm hopeful we'll have no major impacts. Maybe my wife and I down for a week or two. We've already been approved for up to 14 days of absence with pay if diagnosed as positive for COVID-19. So that's nice.

How has Steam not set up a Coronavirus Quarantine sale yet?

BTW my coronavirus story to come. I live 10 minutes away from New Rochelle, NY, which is basically America's WuHan province.

I drive a tractor trailer, slip seating, meaning I could drive 12 or so different tractors in a work week. Like Russian roulette but I've got my sanitizer, toilet paper, water, and vodka to help on my trips.

Things has changed quite suddenly today. After the number of cases has exploded 10 fold over the last few days.
All non-essential government and public services are closing down/working from home for at least 14 days (with pay of course). Schools, childcare, etc.
Since I work in local government (and is quite non-essential :D) that includes me. And a significant % of the population I assume, considering the huge public sector in my country.
At least I can relatively easily do my job from home - and got no kids, that would have been affected by the closedown. So not that affected after all, other than it being kinda weird to work from home for 2 weeks.

As for somewhat personally affected, my sister and niece got involved in a weird way, stuck in isolation at a hospital in Thailand, because they were suspected of having the corona virus. According to the test, they didn't, but still not allowed to leave yet.

Well, and I have asthma, so I would very much prefer not to get the virus at all before there is a vaccine. Not going anywhere except for grocery shopping for those 14 days at least. But in the end, it seems unavoidable to catch it.

UpToIsomorphism wrote:

Edit, Spring Break next week, then moving classes online for (at least) the next two weeks.


My workplace is doing something similar. However, they are emphatic that campus is not closing and that dorms, food service, computer labs, and all other campus services will remain available. That seems like a dubious half measure.

However, there are allegedly multiple suspected cases in the student body. I expect the situation here might change quickly.

Out of An Abundance of Caution, I Have No Clue What to Do

I am supposed to take the train from New York City to Connecticut to my nephew’s birthday party this weekend. He’s turning three. He recently learned how to say my name, although he pronounces it “Uncle Eaaawin,” which is obviously much cuter and better than my actual name. I would like to see him, because it is his birthday, and also because spending time with him and my niece makes me happy.

A week ago, I was 99 percent sure I was still going to my nephew’s birthday. Then on Monday our employer instituted a work-from-home policy because of a possibility someone has COVID-19. I don’t know who that person is or if I worked in proximity to them, nor do I know if they ultimately tested positive (this person probably doesn’t know yet either, thanks to the US’s horrid testing response). What I do know is there will be multiple sets of grandparents at this birthday party, not to mention all the people I will share space with on the journey there and back. At least so far, it seems like the elderly have a higher fatality rate, and I’m worried I may inadvertently transmit the virus to them and anyone else I happen to cross paths with.

As recently as a week ago, public officials in New York were telling us not to be afraid of taking public transit or otherwise living our lives as normal. They’re not saying that anymore, but it’s also not clear what they’re saying now. They’re giving tips on social distancing and encouraging employers to institute work-from-home policies. At the same time, the city has not cancelled the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (yet), which floods Grand Central and much of Manhattan with hundreds of thousands of people. Boston cancelled theirs.

My company declared that everyone should start working from home as of tomorrow. They encouraged it today as well, but since the decision was made only yesterday they wanted to give people a chance to finish anything up they needed to in the office. I already work from home anyway, despite living relatively close by, as I need to be around for the kids, so that doesn’t change much for me. Most of our engineering team is spread out across North America so we are all pretty used to remote work. A lot of the business side folks work from home at least one day a week already, though I imagine doing it full time will take some adjustments for them.

Today it was decided to cancel our upcoming company summit. I had already decided I wasn’t going to attend in person because we live with my mother in law who’s in the ‘high risk’ group. My coworkers had to start canceling flights, and many of them were being told about 2+ hour wait times on the phone (one poor person had chosen a different airline for arriving and departing, so was going to be subject to twice the fun). Most of the cancellations couldn't be done online, since the trips were either not-refundable online or involved large cancellation fees, while full refunds were expected to be possible over the phone.

Today was also the second day in a row we kept our youngest home from school. He was coughing a bit and stuffed up; not enough that we would normally have kept him home but they are asking for any kids with anything resembling covid19 symptoms to stay at home. I was alone with him for a good chunk of the day, which made working a bit challenging. He loves school so spent a good chunk of the morning crying and generally being sad they he couldn’t go again.

With MIT canceling in person classes, our ‘nephew’ will have to stay with us starting next week. His father was already coming to stay with us for a bit. Schools in the town just north of us have closed for now; if our schools close its going to be a very full house for awhile. If the weather stays good I might need to figure out the best way to set up an outdoor office for myself.

Going to a convention at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland tomorrow where we are a vendor. They still haven't pulled the plug on it, and we set up today. Will probably be one of the last events there for awhile.

We're in the Seattle area, so everyone is working from home, as are most of our clients.

No sign of the virus in our school system yet, but it seems inevitable. I fear that if schools close down, that's really going to bring the region to a halt when suddenly no one has a place to put their kids during the day.

State employee here in NC. Employees in the Raleigh area are allowed/encouraged to telecommute, while employees elsewhere in the state, like myself can request to work from home pending further "detected" spread.

My biggest concern is our son's school which has a two week spring break scheduled for the end of the month. I'm sure the school is hoping to make it to spring break but I would feel much more comfortable if they would cancel school until then and give us a nice long time-frame to make further decisions.

I work from home, but it's most definitely affecting my work just the same. On-site (internal) teams which were considered pretty well booked in the past have little to do, and have far more time to work on my projects (they ASKED me if I had things to do!). Techs who planned travel to customer sites to support one of my projects cancelled their travel, and needed my/my team's backing as well as management's to support their decision (done without question - there's a remote support team standing by). I'm also the owner of our erstwhile remote takeover utility, which I was in the middle of sunsetting in favor of another solution (both solutions are out there right now). I've been asked to consider postponing that sunset so that both solutions may be used as needed.

At home? We have one case confirmed in Gainesville. That one's well buttoned up. Other test results are pending though, and I don't trust that there has been nearly enough testing. We've stocked dry goods and our freezer. My father-in-law lives with us and is highly vulnerable. I'd consider Kaycee and one of the kids pretty vulnerable as well. We're pondering whether our public school experiment with our youngest should continue right now due to that vulnerability. We also had Disney planned for this Sunday, but are pondering whether that's something we want to do right now. If we bring this thing home... :/

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Going to a convention at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland tomorrow where we are a vendor. They still haven't pulled the plug on it, and we set up today. Will probably be one of the last events there for awhile.

Welp... Looks like events over 250 people are banned for at least 4 weeks as of an hour ago. Not surprised and probably should have been done 2 weeks ago. Sad because it was our only marketing event each year. Very small business.

Sydney is one of Australia's truly "global" cities together with Melbourne. So we get more international travellers although tourism does do well in summer at the Gold Coast (where Hanks is being treated).

The local advice here is to keep going about your normal activities but don't go to work or to events if feeling unwell. It may change at any time though.

Things I've observed in the last few days:

- more people are donning masks
- toilet paper is still sold out
- stock markets taking a beating
- businesses are being responsible and voluntarily and swiftly closing operations as soon as suspected cases or contact is discovered
- businesses however are only now truly stepping up their contingency plans

As a legal practitioner I am in and out for Court regularly. Plans are in place and being activated to reduce the number of practitioners appearing in Court.

Our healthcare system is robust and is testing cases rapidly and they are not holding back on testing. 9000 tests in our state and something like 66 cases so people are generally being responsible (or is it panicking I am not sure). It may help that it's covered by universal healthcare.

Like most governments, stimulus is being released to prevent a wholesale collapse of the economy that was already reeling in the face of the bushfires. It's too early to tell whether they can stave off the first recession in an unprecedented 3 decades (1991) of no recession.

I just hope common sense prevails and people don't deplete national stocks of masks and other necessities our health practitioners require to serve the community. I have a client that supplies wholesale medical equipment. They're seeing runs on their inventory and the problem is that supply isn't going to be restored from overseas until around May. That's how long their supplier lead time is for now. It could get worse.

So. Coronavirus in NY.

Honestly, it's not that bad. YET, of course, but in New York you would think the local media was covering a zombie outbreak.

One of the "hot zones" in America is New Rochelle, a small city about 30 minutes North of New York City. A Jewish attorney who commutes and works in Manhattan was the first individual in the state to be diagnosed, and his synagogue in the town is ground zero for the outbreak in New York.

The state has declared a 1 mile radius in New Rochelle to be a "containment zone" and has sent the national guard to the site. When you first hear this, it sounds like there's zombies walking around and they will shoot anyone on site entering "the forbidden zone" but the reality is large public gatherings are not allowed within the zone and there's simply so many individuals quarantined in their homes the national guard is simply helping out to deliver groceries and essentials to these families.

Personally, this has been a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, the gym is nearly empty so I have my run of the place. At my dojo, we have a strict rule where each of my students must wash their hands, face, and wrists, followed by Purell before class, and then we clean the mats at the end. My company today is testing it's remote working capabilities so the entire team is WFH today (and I predict it will extend). All of the scientific conferences I was going to have to travel to are either cancelled or converting to virtual format.

As for the down side, there's a lot of anxiety in my neighborhood. The grocery store is repeatedly chaos like Armageddon is scheduled for this weekend. We have an annual family cruise that my In-laws are skipping and we will likely have to cancel at the end of July. My elderly parents are a big concern for my family. My father is leaving the hospital today (we weren't allowed to visit since the hospital was in that containment zone) and they both live alone in their house. My brothers and I will have to check in repeatedly, especially since this bug is particularly dangerous to the elderly and those with comorbidities. I just had a friend who has a regular freelance gig who was let go because the business dropped off and they couldn't justify keeping her on in place of full timers. My kids are concerned but not freaking out since we reminded them that this really effects older folks (but now they're concerned about their grandparents).

So overall, we're doing ok here, and I have to admit I find this all truly fascinating but of course we're not taking it lightly either. Anyone who's ever watched a zombie movie or TV show wondered what it would be like if something like that happened. This is the closest experience we've had to that situation so far.

This is just a minor frustration. But still.

I have a co-worker and an intern. Both have given me two different headaches concerning coronavirus. My co-worker is insisting that black people cannot contract it. Each time she says this, I insist that we research it. I point out that everything I'm seeing says that it's a myth and that everyone can get coronavirus. She nods her head in agreement, pauses, and then says, "Still, though. I think we're safe." I though she was just f*cking with me, but no. She's had several conversations I'm not a part of where she insists on it because her twin sister says she read it somewhere on the CDC website. So this morning, I said, "Fine. This means you'll stop washing your hands and taking precautions on the train, right?" She thought about it, and after a beat said, "Well, I suppose it's possible black people could get it." Progress.

The intern had no problems until two days ago when she comes up from lunch in a near panic attack. She got a text from her sister in college saying that they were halting classes for several weeks. She didn't realize, and I quote, that "coronavirus was a real thing." I asked what she thought it was. She said she thought it was made up so that people could make money. When I asked how, she said, again I quote, "I don't know." So now she's freaking out and asking me if this is how we die and if it's in our city and is this the reason it's so hard to gain citizenship in America. So again, I say let's research. She doesn't have time for that, though. She's too busy freaking out. I spend the rest of the day looking up stuff on it to calm her down. From 0 to 100 in one lunch break.

Had to cancel my vacation to Vietnam that was going to be on next Friday. I was originally gung-ho about it because it seemed like it would be a fun adventure where I got to see the country as if it was 15 years ago before mass tourism took over, but over the past week things shifted too far in the other direction (the whole of Halong Bay has been shut down for 2 weeks, for example). The airline was willing move my flight to the fall for no fee, but the whole point was to go in the spring when it would be the perfect time for certain sites. I could delay it a whole year but after doing that for 5 years straight (for other reasons where March is busy where I live), it almost feels like a defeat if I do that. I'm only out $800 for various expenses, though, as opposed to my boss and her Portugal/Azores family tour that leaves her out $4500 for cancelling. (Mind you she has the money to lose.)

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm the real victim here.

Also, I took a new apartment even though I was planning on being on vacation next month. because it was too close to my ideal and within my budget to reject, but now I'm paying rent for 2 places in April for no real reason.

I have a weird throat issue (no pain, no other symptoms, just gross congestion) that I haven't had anyone look at because I don't want to spend 4 hours in a waiting room with legit sick people when it is very likely just some kind of weird minor viral infection and they'll tell me to just wait it out.

My boss is a super hypochrondriac so I'm actually shocked we haven't been ordered to work from home yet. I assume that's coming soon now that Ottawa got it's first reported case.

I've slowly started building some food in a non-panicky way just in case my partner or I get infected and have to self-isolate. Might step that up now that other people are starting to panic and grabbing every canned good and toilet paper roll on the shelves.

Mostly right now just annoyed that it's all people want to talk about, and almost nobody is talking about it rationally: It's either absolutely nothing to worry about at all or it's the end of the world. No in-between opinions allowed.

Also, I've become very hyper-aware of the fact that I love touching my face all the time.

I skipped out on a multi-thousand attendee conference, though everyone else from my work who was slated to go, did. I honestly feel like I'm the only one taking precautions. People are laughing it off, blaming the media for over-hype, looking at school closures elsewhere as gross overreactions. And I'm the single voice of reason, explaining that we need to slow the spread just to give our hospitals a chance to keep up. No one seems to care-- "Why would I go to the hospital for just getting sick?" "...Because when you can't breathe, that's where the ventilators are..." :facepalm:

I've not talked to anyone yet today, but I'm hoping the NBA suspending shocks them into a bit of reality, but it'll probably just be more of the same.

I have been tasked to help put together a plan for a sudden closing and remote work situation, so at least there's that. If I had my way, we'd already be remote. Waiting until there's identified cases just means hundreds or thousands of people will be exposed before you take action. And the local community already has an identified case.

My company just informed us that we'll split into two groups and work one week from home and the next in the office through April. We also run a clinical lab so studies using panelists off the street have been severely cut for now.

I'm of two minds though: part of me is upset that they didn't cancel all studies and have everyone work from home. The other part agrees that taking these moderate actions are likely the best thing to do right now.

Antichulius wrote:

People are laughing it off, blaming the media for over-hype, looking at school closures elsewhere as gross overreactions. And I'm the single voice of reason, explaining that we need to slow the spread just to give our hospitals a chance to keep up.

This sounds familiar, as I am also my office's resident chicken little. Is GWJ a net that catches the overly anxious?

Anyways, last week the wise IT guy emailed everybody, "Hey all, if you have remote access and haven't used it in a while, or maybe got a new phone that needs some 2Factor love, maybe double check it still works. We're here to help!" Without even suggesting why he was bringing this up. Just the chillest most reasonable thing in the world. So of course management chewed him out for it. The same management that is now scrambling to let people know they shouldn't panic because soon there will be an email with a pdf in it with a list of non-functioning links to the CDC.

There's that graph explaining the difference between overloading the medical system vs slowing the inevitable spread down. It's great. Almost. We need a version of that that is not a graph. People's capacity to translate graphs into meaning is way lower than we think it is. Animation with a buncha meeples. Analogy. Whatever works. "Keep calm and stall this sh*t" Surely sports is rife with analogous phrases ready to be re-purposed.

Our company is having a continent-wide "work from home" day tomorrow to crash test the remote working IT infrastructure and make sure it'll hold up if we have to move permanently to WFH.

Meanwhile, two local school districts had closed this week after parents with students at the schools came into contact with someone who has the virus.

My kid's school district was not included and they went into school today as usual, but we just received a phone call that there would be an unplanned early dismissal and the school is closing until further notice. No extra information yet.

Meanwhile, at Berkeley...

As far as I know my company doesnt have a plan. I mean 90% of what I do still has to be mailed. Other than that I could robably remote in.

I doubt we will have any form of plan until someone in the building gets sick.

By my last count we have at least 5 businesses, a doctor office and a bank in our complex.

I hope we dont have to shut dowb thw physical location. Because knowing thw communication issues. We have has on simple issues this would be worae if people panic.

And I just got word that for the next 8 weeks, we're going down to a skeleton crew. I might be getting two paid days off a week.

My company put out a work from home order for all non site essential personnel for tomorrow. I work from home anyway, so it won't affect me much, but I anticipate longer than average hold times for IT as folks struggle to set up their VPNs.

Supposed to leave for Costa Rica with the family in 6 days, for a 12 day vacation. Still planning on going at this point, but plans may change? I’m still not that worried about getting back into the country at this point, but local measures could certainly curtail or disrupt our planned activities, so I’m definitely having second thoughts about going.

The company I work for provides cloud network services for video content. We provide transport services for A LOT of sporting events, either as the primary, or as a backup to satellite service because we're IP based. Today we got to sit through a meeting and go through all the events we had scheduled that are now cancelled. We'll take a hit, but we have enough other business that it's not critical, it just means some of the bigger projects I've worked on in the past month are now not happening. Though at least it means we have time to sort our warehouse, which has been continuously put off since the move in October. We threw a lot of junk away today and we figure we'll tell people about it if they ever come looking for it (VERY unlikely).

Kids are still in school for the moment but I imagine that'll end soon. My wife just found out that starting Monday she's work-from-home, so no biggie.

Gonna start to be tough working from home and all the kids out of school.

I don't know how effective everyone can be in that scenario, but I know it's really difficult for me to work from home if the kids are around.

Maryland just ratcheted up. National Guard called up, gatherings of more than 250 people prohibited, public schools closed for two weeks starting Monday, state government work from home, etc, etc.