This is not a snow day.

Day 51 of the Coronavirus in France

“When one region was in crisis the others should have locked down immediately. It’s what France failed to learn from the Italians.”

What are you going to do while you are in isolation? Today we ate massaman curry for breakfast, played a new invented game outside called knock the stick, and we didn’t leave our house and yard or see a single person.

Parents are calling each other for creative stay at home ideas. New forums online are popping up to address quarantine specific activities. This is not a snow day. Play dates are now forbidden, some of us were voluntarily self-containing a few days in advance. Too many people were not. I’ve been mocked, they thought I was an alarmist, now they understand. And I’ve been studying the development in other countries since the first announcement in January. In Taiwan people voluntarily stayed inside. France waited until the president to made an order. Worldwide whistle blowers are our heros — after they are fired and then rehired again the next day.

Wisdom is staying home, not out of fear for yourself, but out of respect for the health professionals who will be over-saturated and over exposed in a few days, it’s only a matter of hours really. Tomas Pueyo tipped me off. Check out his math.

What will I be doing during isolation? I imagined I would be teaching my daughter to type so that she can write her memoires of this. I imagined my family would sit and read classics, like Narnia, on the couch in front of the fire. Instead I’ve spent all of my waking hours and some of my sleeping hours compiling facts and sharing with you the daily unfolding of events.

Today is the day that my daughter would have gone to a Birthday party of a classmate. The party is canceled the venue is closed indefinitely. The birthday will wait. We’ll celebrate when this is over.

We are planning virtual play dates. My daughter video calls friends and they play over the phone allowing their imaginations to be fueled by each other.

I saw someone appropriate the Daniel the Tiger Gets Sick Episode. It’s a good beginning. It teaches kids the importance of washing hands and rest is best. But I would love to see Daniel the Tiger to do a special quarantine edition where they explain that the children are the bees that spread the virus like pollen. Where the town self-isolates before they have symptoms. Where the family doctor is recruited to reinforce hospital staff. Where the children of the doctor need extra secure lock-down babysitting – not play dates. This is not a snow day. (source)

—UPDATE— Everywhere people want to pool babysitting resources. Children of health care workers will need a safe harbor where they can be welcomed everyday by the same person to avoid cross spreading different strains. Knowing full well that whoever watches them will be in direct contact with the contagion. If you have the time and energy to be considering hosting kids then use that time to call a town meeting to put into place consistent care by the same caretaker everyday for every family that needs it. Host a town meeting today to make sure your town gets this message.

—UPDATE— To that effect some teachers are offering to keep the children of those in health care services. Since they have already been in the same close knit circle and because the child’s exposure will increase daily along with their parents. In many neighborhood the teachers are the designated caretakers. They have access to classrooms and recess halls for high contagion children. The goal is that those kids see the fewest number of people in their lives. Don’t pass them around from family to family.

—UPDATE— Teachers are already trained and trusted by families. It’s a good solution and will probably still work if some teachers opt-out or get sick, since the rest of the kids are staying in their own homes. Host a town meeting today to make sure your town gets this message. I know you want to volunteer your services. We should not propose babysitting exchanges for those in nonessential jobs or just for a playdate. You’ll find other ways to fight cabin fever. If your town allows you to volunteer know full well that you will get the virus through them.

For more information on how you can set up a childcare for healthcare workers see here.

There are many museums that offer 3D visits online or video tours. (source)

Emotions are strained. We are learning to give each other grace. So much is postponed, put on hold, that when my husband accidentally vacuumed up the belt to my daughter’s house coat. You could see on her face that she was about to lose it. We understand each other and we understand that sadness and separation accumulate, and with-it grief responses are accentuated.

Some of our most vulnerable people feel like they have to go out. They did not set into place an organization to get their groceries. Think of people who are accustomed to being self-sufficient. Think of people who rely on aid from family members and friends outside your city limits. Staying at home and staying on the block means that new people are in solitude that otherwise aren’t. Someone has created these help cards. If you follow social distancing protocol you can offer assistance only to those in proximity to you.

Today France was encouraged to vote following social distancing protocol. Staying in your neighborhood, maintaining 1-meter distance from others, wearing masks. No one was to touch curtains, they faced the stalls so the opening was against the wall to avoid any contact. They also added that everyone brings their own pens, no sharing.

Online forums are full of questions. The general public want answers.

Did schools close during World War Two? Everyone reaches into their mental toolbox to pull out resources that have aided their survival in the past. During the World Wars dying by bomb was a source of fear but not contagious. So quarantine will be different. But at least today the kids don’t live in fear because they are the bees and symptoms will be those of a cold.

Is holding your breath a reliable test? There is a well-meaning article that recommends holding your breath for 10 seconds. But some people can’t hold their breath for 10 seconds even in health. Or on the contrary athletes who can ordinarily hold their breath for a minute may notice changes in their breathing and still be able to hold their breath for over 10 seconds. 10 seconds is arbitrary. There remains a foundational principle that is true. The clearest way to state this is if you notice a change (Δ) in your breathing. Take a moment to breathe deeply and observe whatever is normal for you and use that as a baseline.

How long is a person sick? You won’t find these numbers. We are watching the confirmed cases increase every day for months and the recoveries are still scarce. But the math is out there somewhere.

How many health care workers have died? We don’t know yet.

The story continues in my Coronavirus log here.

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