March 2020 – Everything has changed

What a weird and wild time March has been with this global pandemic that has hit us. The world hasn’t seen anything like this is just over 100 years and we are doing our best to keep COVID-19 at bay. I am big on keeping notes and journals of my daily life to help me assess where I am at with my life and it has been very beneficial for me whilst practising social distancing at home. I have been noting the changes throughout the month that has kept my mind from spinning from the reality of the situation. This virus has changed our way of living for what I hope will be a short time. Every week it is different and these are some of my notes and thoughts on it all.

Beginning of March had everyone talking about the potential for this virus to be declared a pandemic. It was nuts watching it all unfold on TV in China and parts of Europe and it honestly seemed like a blow up by the media at this point. Emails were starting to do the rounds at the start of the work week about washing your hands for 30 seconds, coughing into your arm and the signs to watch for such as a high fever. Then the hoarding of toilet paper began…

I am still shaking my head at the mentality of some people in going gangbusters buying all the toilet paper they could get their hands on. Of all things people went for it was toilet paper, not frozen food that you can store for a time or medication, but toilet paper.

On the 8th, my friend Rozanne and I went to the Tiny House Expo and people, including ourselves, were paying attention to who had a cough, who was washing their hands and we both had hand sanitiser at this point in our handbags. Walking through the tiny houses and we all laughed at how no one was knocking off any toilet paper rolls from the home bathrooms. The memes were in full swing too which lightened the mood and for me helped get my head around it all on how fast this virus spread.

March 11 rolled around and people were shocked that Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID-19. Nothing like everyone’s favourite celebrity to get sick, and here in Australia of all places. Everyone snapped out of it and took things even more seriously. Social distancing rules were introduced, toilet paper was on extinction list along with hand sanitiser, soap and wipes. Tinned food, rice and pasta were soon being stripped off the shelves as people were preparing for the worst and on the 12th the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared it a pandemic, and that people over age of 60 were high risk. People were dying all over world and hardest hit were China, Italy and Spain who were already in lock down. Looking back our Prime Minister should have imposed restrictions much earlier on. Typical politicians more worried about the economy than people’s health.

Monday 15th – so it begins. Businesses had their employees work from home if they could, including us. I dealt with it OK as I normally work in office in morning and head home around lunchtime to continue work so mentally I was OK and prepared. Some of my friends however were struggling. Working from home was a very new thing for them. Clients were asking we not visit their sites unless urgent and everyone from retailers to health departments were just emailing each other the same material backwards and forwards with their name on top of it to show they were taking this seriously. Events were being cancelled all over the Country including sporting events. Everyone was desperately trying to source hand soap and face masks and the health system was struggling.

We could all still shop as normal as long as we practised social distancing. I did my part but felt guilty about going out for a quick bite to eat even though retailers appreciated the support. I stopped by weeks end. I was hunkering down. No one was really listening to our politicians but when Doctors are begging us to stay home we all listened.

This past week or so has been interesting. Big retailers have shut their doors until at least end of April and a lot of small businesses have gone broke. With most people at home they had no sales unless they had online shopping available. Restaurants were closed unless it was take away and very tight limits were imposed on how many people could be together in a room including funerals and weddings. Thousands of people have lost their jobs. No one can enter our Country or leave, airports are ghost towns and borders between States are shut. People need permits to go interstate.

No one knows how long this will last but as of today, the 29th, the cases of the virus have dropped here in Australia. Honestly I think we will be like this until May. Everything is so quiet too. I am fortunate to live alone so I am not at home being driven insane by anyone and have plenty of work and activities to keep me entertained including my pets. My anxiety has lessened, my depression is practically non existent and stress has melted away. I am however addicted to Animal Crossing which I only downloaded yesterday on my Nintendo! Working from home has turned out very well for me. I really hope my working situation continues like this after this chaos is all over.

I hope everyone is doing well during this historic event. The World will recover, the economy will bounce back and we can all hug each other. But until then –

Stay the fuck inside.

Take care, Lauren


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