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Starting to Log the Pandemic

Last updated on March 23, 2020

My old friend Alice Dreger says we should record our experiences during this pandemic. And she’s right. It’s been such a surreal few weeks at Casa Conway that it’s worth trying to capture, at least at some level.

First, some background. It’s very likely that the Mate and I have already had the disease. She had two trips back East in January (DC Jan 8-10, Dallas Jan 25-28. . .both East-ish from Los Angeles) and became very sick. By January 31st, she was bedridden, 103F fever for 3 days, all the rest of the symptoms we’re now familiar with for COVID-19. Of course, we didn’t know what it was then but as the COVID stories started to appear, we became convinced that’s what she had. I also got sick but in my case, instead of the 3 weeks of illness, 3 days of 103 fever, respiratory issues, falling, etc., that she went through, for me the whatever-it-was lasted a week: 1 day of 100F temp, terrible headache and sinus congestion for several more days, and then recovery. I was tested at my own doctor’s office for the seasonal flu, and it wasn’t that.

If the above is correct, the Mate had the virus within 10 days of the first confirmed patient in the US (which was announced January 21, 2020.)

Since our recovery from the mysterious illness, we traveled to India (21 – 29 February), and then I attended the Columbia History of Science Group meeting at the Friday Harbor marine research station on San Juan Island (5-8 March). The India trip occurred just as official response (beyond the pointless travel bans) was beginning.

My own quasi-isolation from the world started with the trip to Friday Harbor. On March 2nd, my manager requested that I telework from my return on 8 March until 22 March. The precaution of telework was based on the single known case of “community spread” case of COVID-19 in the Seattle area. I can do most of my job remotely, so I didn’t argue.

That end date, while it hasn’t passed yet as I type this, is now moot. On March 17, my employer put about 6000 of its 7000+ employees on mandatory telework. Today the State of California issued a “stay home” order , which has no end date. It’ll be another month at least before I go back to work.

Gotta do some other things now but I’ll be back with more.

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