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Let’s Not forget How Weird This Is

It’s about two months into the Coronvirus outbreak that started in Wuhang, China. The media term is Coronavirus, which is actually a broad type of virus, but the medical name for this outbreak is COVID-19.

The U.S., generally, was slow to respond. “Its happening in China, that won’t happen here” seems to have been the thinking. Well, it’s a global world, so before long it cam to our shores. In mid February is came to Rhode Island — Pawtucket, in fact — when students came home from a trip to Italy. One of the teachers tested positive for COVID-19 and nearly died.

He struggled to breathe. His lungs filled with fluid, and nurses in hazmat-style suits had to drain them every two hours. The worst part, he said, was the feeling of choking. “You feel like you’re asphyxiating, and you’re panicking because you can’t breathe.” He kept telling himself, “Just get through the next hour, the next hour, the next hour.” At one point, he was aware that a priest in protective gear was about to administer last rites. He wrote a note to his wife saying that if his lungs collapsed, he did not want to be put on life support. “I was one inch from death,” he told the WSJ on Tuesday. “It’s alarming when I hear people minimize it as a simple cold,” he said. “It almost killed me.”

Some strange things have happened, and they have escalated quickly. The country is shutting down and not slowly — like, immediately.

Here’s an overview of what has happened in the past day:

And in local news, some other occurrences hit us directly:

These are strange times.

We plan to get poké bowls for dinner tonight because it feels like we need to support local businesses and especially Asian-owned. People have been dumb enough to wonder if Asian food will give them coronavirus and whether or not they should gargle with bleach. Seriously. Meanwhile, toilet paper and hand sanitizer are being fought over at the grocery store.

I hope we can all come to some reasonable sense of reality real soon.