1. Frog in a hot pot

Tuesday March 31 2020

I know. I’m late in starting this journal, but really these past few weeks have been the boiling frog analogy. I’m just a stupid amphibian pushing myself around in circles in the stockpot. I don’t trust the signs that things are getting hot until I get really uncomfortable.

And I spent too much time being dismissive of the drama being spat out by the media. “Hyperbole,” I said, shrugging. “The media always uses fear mongering as their go-to.” I’m no sheep.

Then the quarantines started. First with travelers coming in from other countries. Suggested two-week quarantines became mandatory. New words and phrases were being used in such rapidity that it was like a drinking game.

One drink for “pandemic.” One drink for “Wuhan.” One drink for “wash your hands.” One drink for “abundance of caution.” One drink for “flatten the curve.” One drink for “unprecedented.”

Take two drinks for COVID-19.

What came next happened fast.

  • On March 9, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a state of emergency after three (only 3!) individuals tested positive for COVID-19.
  • March 10 – Ohio recommends all university students who’ve traveled abroad or on cruise ships avoid classes and being in large crowds. Universities are asked to consider online learning options.
  • March 11 – the World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic.
  • March 12 – Spring Break at schools is extended to last three weeks. Parents are frustrated and scrambling to find childcare.
  • March 14 – 26 COVID-19 cases are confirmed in Ohio; no deaths reported
  • March 15 – 36 cases confirmed; no deaths. Restaurants and bars are ordered to provide drive-through or carry-out only. Dine-in is prohibited.
  • March 16 – polling locations are ordered closed and the presidential primary is rescheduled
  • March 17 – 50 cases confirmed; no deaths. Mass gatherings are strongly discouraged and elective surgeries are to be rescheduled
  • March 18 – 67 cases confirmed; no deaths.
  • March 19 – 88 cases confirmed; no deaths. Hair salons nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and massage therapists are ordered to close. Most locations of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles are closed; 181 closed and 5 remain open. None remain open in the Dayton area.
  • March 20 – 119 cases; no deaths. IRS moves tax day out 90 days to July 15
  • March 21 – 247 cases; first 3 deaths are reported.
  • March 22 – Ohio issues a Stay at Home order for sheltering in place for non-essential workers to take effect on March 23.
  • March 23 – 447 cases; 6 deaths
  • March 24 – 564 cases; 8 deaths
  • March 25 – 704 cases; 10 deaths. Childcare facilities are ordered closed, except for those holding a temporary pandemic license. The presidential primary will be all vote by mail. State mandated testing is cancelled for grades K-12.
  • March 26 – 867 cases; 15 deaths. 223 hospitalized, 91 in ICU.
  • March 30 – Ohio schools will stay closed until at least May 1. President Trump mandates shelter-in-place through April 30.
  • March 31 – 2,199 cases; 55 deaths. 585 hospitalized.

In three weeks’ time, the number of cases confirmed in Ohio rose from 0 to 2,199. In ten days’ time, the death toll rose to 55.

It’s real and it’s here on our home turf, no longer in a foreign country and happening to other people. And we’ve only just started to climb the curve. I heard a mention on NPR this morning that we’re in the calm before the storm and we’re about to find out how cruel this storm will be. According to Mike DeWine, the number of cases isn’t expected to peak until at least May 1.  

Businesses are closed, some have so been ruined, they will never reopen. Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans are filing for unemployment benefits. Health workers don’t have enough personal protection equipment. Libraries are closed. Banks are by appointment only. The Pope has cancelled Easter services.

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

In their panic, hoarders have emptied our big-box stores of toilet paper, bottled water, paper towels, disinfectants, hand sanitizers, beans, rice, pasta, soups, frozen foods. Nothing is left for the reasonable folk.

People are wearing face masks and latex gloves when in public. Not everyone, but their numbers are growing every time I’m at the grocery to find those rare essentials. Discarded blue gloves are the new litter in the grocery parking lot. People continue to be pigs.

What a month.

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