March 16, 2020

I’ve been sniffling and coughing, but not feverish, since Friday evening. I took the afternoon off today after working on some paperwork in the morning. I’m not quite feeling good enough to do a “fake commute” bike ride today — I also skipped mine on Friday due to cold weather — so I instead went for a walk in my neighborhood. Despite Gov. Jay Inslee’s order closing many non-essential businesses, plenty of people were outside enjoying a cloudless sunny afternoon. Crowds were still manageable at the supermarket where I stopped in, and apart from bread, meat, and sanitization products, shelves remained well-stocked.

Of the 904 people who have tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Washington, 48 have died.

The gravity of our COVID-19 outbreak is setting in and, to my surprise, most people are obeying requests to avoid gatherings, work from home, and avoid nonessential travel. “Not traveling” has become the new traveling as my friends use social media to broadcast all the things they’re no longer doing. Most of the upcoming events on my calendar either have been cancelled or will likely be cancelled. Hotels.com and Delta Air Lines have been asking me not to call until shortly before my reservation would have begun; they’re now receiving a torrent of calls from customers asking to cancel and reschedule. Even “non-refundable” reservations are now moveable, a very nice gesture that’s probably costing these companies billions of dollars.

I’m glad to see that restaurants are still permitted to operate by offering food for take-out and delivery, and many are doing so. I started 2020 believing food delivery apps like DoorDash to be frivolous and harmful to restaurants, but I now believe they provide a vital lifeline and may keep their clients in business. That said, it’s going to be rough going for many employees at restaurants that are either foregoing dine-in service or closing entirely. The same goes for workers at hospitality businesses like hotels, tourist attractions, and shops that are closing down for the time being. Aid to these people in need goes far beyond an occasional GoFundMe campaign; it will likely come from taxpayer funds, and Washington state leads the nation in regressive taxation, taxes that hit the poorest residents hardest.

I’m not planning to get a COVID-19 test. It’d be nice if in the future I could get a test to see whether I’ve had and recovered from the virus so I can be less worried about getting it a second time. In the meantime, social distancing, delivery, and sunshine will keep me happy and, perhaps, fit and productive.