Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A Day In The Life Of Corona Times

Miss Amy Miles' Dolls' House, the V&A, 1000 pieces.
Schools in Israel have a three day holiday for the festival of Purim. I've written about this before. It's our Carnival, Mardi Gras, dressing up, parades, exchanging gifts of food, a festive meal and listening to the story of Queen Esther (not necessarily in that order of importance).

The actual festival is tonight and tomorrow in most of Israel, and the Jewish diaspora, but tomorrow night and Wednesday in walled cities like Jerusalem (even though most of the city is now outside the ancient walls). Today was a fast day - most Jewish festivals have a nearby fast. It seems that our sages knew a thing or two about the benefits of intermittent fasting centuries before it was a 'thing'. Fast days are usually half days (meaning we finish a couple of hours early) in schools but a couple of years ago the Education Ministry accidently printed it as a full holiday on their school calendars. It was a mistake but since then it's been a full day off. LOL.

First port of call today was the bank to deposit a cheque that would normally have waited until I was passing. However, one of my colleagues is in self-isolation after returning from France and after being at work for a couple of days. The directive was retroactive so home she went for the 14 day duration. Another friend returned from the US on Friday and popped over yesterday. We chatted in my home. Then this evening it was announced that all travelers returning from abroad have to self quarantine for 14 days, but not retroactively so he's ok. All it would take is for one person I've been with, or a student or teacher from my school or college, to test positive for corona and I'd be confined to my apartment for two weeks. So the cheque needed to be deposited today.

On the way home I went to the supermarket and stocked up on more food. It was the little local supermarket so more expensive than the big one and not much choice of tinned foods. I may go to the big shop tomorrow morning. I did see a good deal on toilet rolls so I got another couple of packets. We now have enough toilet paper for about three months. You can call it panic buying but actually it's sensible because there's no just popping out once you get the notice. You could be arrested... and you could be responsible for killing someone.

People out and about were greeting each other by knocking elbows. Social distance doncha know. It's all a bit Dunkirk spirit for most of us but terrifying for those with chronic conditions or with compromised immunity. This is why we're taking it seriously and doing as we're told.

Another friend came in from Switzerland yesterday and is under 'house arrest' as Switzerland was on the list before the worldwide ban came into effect. She's a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast so I took two big puzzles round to her house. She buzzed open the front door from upstairs and I left them just inside the hall.

Tomorrow night we're going to a Purim party to hear the Story of Esther and enjoy a festive meal with friends. Special readings are being streamed and broadcast on the radio for those in quarantine.


  1. I had a meeting this morning and we had all never actually met before - we all went to shake hands, then stopped, no one quite knew what to do so we just laughed and got on with it.
    We did decide to stop our Out of the Cold supper after tonight - we had another 3 weeks to go but it is now finished. We are also suspending our breakfast program after tomorrow morning. It's unfortunate as we feed the poor and homeless and they are a vulnerable sector - but about 2/3 of our volunteers are seniors so we have to think of them as well. Tomorrow night we will discuss whether to cancel our English Conversation group for at least a few weeks - we have between 80 and 100 people from all around the world in close proximity so we are really going to have to think about this.
    So far Canada has done a pretty good job of containing things although we have had our first death today - a nursing home resident in BC but not quite sure how much longer we can last before it hits the general population. Hopefully we learned a lot from the SARS outbreak - which was bad here.
    The really shocking news is that Italy has pretty much shut down the entire country! They have an excellent healthcare system and yet they have been decimated - shocking.
    Stay safe.

    1. I'm watching the numbers around the world too. The good news is that in China it seems to be waning. So maybe the peak is passing and with the quarantine and social distance measures the same will happen in other countries. Although, as I'm writing this I'm wondering how that will help us get back to normal. As soon as we go back to normal, even if one person has it it will start to spread again. They are also waiting to see if the summer is a factor, like with flu. Although, again, half the world is going into winter.