For many years we have been warned by experts that the world was at risk for a pandemic. A deadly virus was only a plane ride away, they said. Well, now that time has come. Government officials here have said you can only go outside if you have a good reason, such a trip to the grocery store to get food or to the pharmacy to get medicine. No more social gatherings. No more going out to eat or drink.
All the activities I do each week have been cancelled. No more book discussion groups, no more choir rehearsals, no more yoga, no more writer’s groups, no more military history presentations. I love to go out and do things and be with other people. So this is going to be hard. My to-do list has shrunk down to how many books I can read. I am about to start reading Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert Massie. He won the Pulitzer prize for this 856-page book, so that should take me a while.
I am confused, though, about the details of this state of emergency. Can we take our dog for a walk around the neighborhood or will we get in trouble with the police? What will people who work on a cash-only basis do to survive? For example, all outdoor markets are closed until future notice. So how do people sell their produce then? How do they still make a living? What happens to all the small business owners who must shut down for weeks? What about the waitresses, bartenders, cooks, maids, etc. who must stop working because the restaurant or hotel where they work is closing? So much hardship and uncertainty ahead. Spain is so reliant on tourism to keep its economy going and now people can’t go out and spend money.
I do understand the rationale. We want to flatten the curve of corona virius transmission. The numbers have gone up rapidly in several weeks. One month ago, there were two reported cases in Spain. On March 1, there were 84 cases. One week later, on March 7th, there were 525 cases. As of today, there are 6,391 cases of Covid-19 in Spain, including 196 deaths. So the number of confirmed cases has grown 12 times over what it was a week before! Time for drastic measures such as self-quarantine.
Let’s hope people keep their heads during this pandemic and don’t getting into fist fights over the last roll of toilet paper at the store. I saw on Facebook that there is a new drink called the quarantini. It’s the same as a martini but you drink it at home by yourself! We better just make the best of this national emergency. Keep laughing, keep reading, stay connected to others via social media and help out others who are less fortunate. Do like my husband Rick did on the last day before restaurants and bars closed here until future notice. He gave the local bar owner and the waitress at the local Italian restaurant 20 euros each in addition to paying what we owed. Such a thoughtful and generous soul. I am glad I married him! I just hope we don’t kill each other after being stuck in the house together for the indeterminate length of this national emergency!