Don’t Panic, Pt. 4: Life in Lockdown

At my house, it’s more or less business as usual. I’m counting all my blessings.

  • I’m healthy.
  • I can work from home, and I have work coming in.
  • I like being at home; it’s my sanctuary even in non-coronavirus times.
  • I have a patio allowing me to be outside in green space.
  • My cats are happy to have me around.

Shopping

As of Thursday, Israel restricted people to stay within 100 meters (a football field) of their homes, except for necessary outings. Shopping is necessary.

My regular store had the basics, but I decided that I needed to go to Emek Refaim to pick up treats for myself and my cats. We’re going to be at home for a while.

The pet store was not allowing people inside, but served people at the door. We stood 6 feet apart.

At the fancy grocery store, they were limiting the number of people allowed in. I had to wait outside for a few minutes. The store provided disposable gloves at the entrance. It wasn’t too chaotic inside, but they were disinfecting all surfaces and stocking shelves (preparing for Passover). Shoppers stayed apart as much as possible.

I got some brie and a baguette – who knows when I’ll get the chance again. And the extra special thing I got was Lavender Earl Grey tea. I know, bergamot and lavender sounds like a flavor overload, but I’m telling you it’s wonderful and good for relaxation.

IMG_20200328_211459

YouTube is my BFF

I watch news from around the world. And then to recover, I need to watch a lot of stand-up comedy. I’m just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. I watch British stand-up usually or British shows – I highly recommend Graham Norton’s talk show. If you want stand-up comedy that has no swearing and no sex, go to Dry Bar Comedy (even the neck-tattoo guy has clean comedy).

I did one project so far. Success!

IMG_20200323_160630

I’ve also started using YouTube as an art course.

IMG_20200328_164157 (1)

I have no background in art at allbut I think these turned out pretty well. None are for sale at any price.

YouTube is also great at suggestions. My acrylic paints videos turned me on to dot mandalas. I tried one and I need to work on the process a bit more. But I challenge anyone to watch one of these videos and not be relaxed. I thought this one was pretty.

Human voices

I haven’t started giving my cats voices (yet!), so for human sounds I’ve been listening to audiobooks. Audible.com is offering free children’s books for all levels – you don’t need a membership (available in multiple languages!).

I’ve also attended a number of free webinars and I had a Tai Chi class via Zoom. I think I might do more of that!

Shelter at home – Kitty style

Hope for the future

I’m trying to see the opportunity in the adversity and really use the time this lockdown created. I’m not quite there yet – discipline and schedules are not my strongest skills – and the scrolling, scrolling, scrolling can be a bit addictive.

My wish is for all of us to come out of this lockdown just a little bit better than we were when we went in.

Don’t Panic

If you have your towel, a Babel fish in your ear, and know that the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42, then you’ll probably be fine.

If not, you might as well quarantine yourself and read the six books in the trilogy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You’ll be safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) and you’ll know it’s best not to panic.

***

Israel just had its third election and the government is pretty shaky, but they still have their act together doing everything possible to contain the coronavirus.

As of this writing:

  • Jerusalem Marathon – cancelled (ok, postponed until October, all being well)
  • Public Purim celebrations – mostly cancelled
  • Gatherings of over 5,000 people – cancelled
  • International travelers are not permitted to events with more than 100 people
  • Anyone arriving from mainland China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, France, or Switzerland must go into 14-day home quarantine. If you are coming from Taiwan or Australia, watch for symptoms. This applies to both Israelis and foreign nationals. And the government just made it retroactive – anyone who has been in any of those countries in the last 14 days. As of this writing, somewhere between 50,000 to 80,000 people in Israel are quarantined.
  • Flights have been canceled. Whole airline companies are not flying to Israel.
  • A specifically Jewish note: Chief Rabbis in Israel say not to touch the mezuzah when passing through a door (this is a custom for many Jews).

Israel’s Ministry of Health has a website available in Hebrew, English, Russian, and Arabic giving updated information and guidelines about the virus.

The primary guideline is not to visit your healthcare provider. If you have a fever of at least 100.4F (38C), cough, trouble breathing, or other respiratory problems, you can call a hotline and a medic will come to you.

Guess how many confirmed cases of coronavirus Israel has?

21 (no deaths)

Even more surprising: Palestinian territories are closed to tourists for the next two weeks. Bethlehem closed tourist attractions (Church of the Nativity), schools, universities, and mosques.

Guess how many confirmed cases?

16 (no deaths)

I’ve been listening to the US news and there seems to be so much outrage and panic about the lack of testing. I looked all over Israel’s website and found nothing about testing. If you’ve been exposed or possibly exposed, quarantine.

In fact, there was a press release detailing the itinerary of a woman who tested positive for coronavirus after she returned home to New York. Israelis were told to quarantine themselves if they had been in the areas she had been during that time. (She was near my work, but thankfully we were not in the same place at the same time.)

Apart from that, wash your hands, use common sense, and business as usual.

Israel is a small country with nearly 9 million people. We have one major international airport. Not every country can act so quickly and with such force. This lock-down will protect people, even if it is uncomfortable, restricts travel freedom, and will probably have catastrophic economic repercussions. Losing money and comfort is less important than losing life.

As I write this, I can hear children playing in the park behind my home. In spite of everything, it’s a pretty normal Saturday.

Tomorrow, I’ll grab my towel, take a bus to the office, and it will be business as usual. And most importantly, I won’t panic.