Surviving COVID -19

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Thought I might share my past experience here as well, since it may comfort all the parents trying to home school right now! I was a senior in high school in Hong Kong when they experienced the SARS epidemic. Our school shut down and I was sent back to the States to finish up my last months of high school. My parents and sister stayed in Hong Kong since our school reopened after three weeks (my parents were teachers at the school). Even though the school reopened, there was still a threat of SARS, so many students (like me) didn't return to finish the year. At the end of the school year, they just passed all the students (thousands of them) onto then next year regardless of what they'd been doing. And everything worked out fine.

I was listening to a podcast where they claimed that this school situation is unprecedented. Which it is on such a large scale, but not for the places in Asia that were affected by SARS in 2003. Just wanted to share that to help ease any fears people may have about their kids learning enough. They'll be fine!! smiley

I live in the northern part of Germany, close to the border to the Netherlands, in a small town with around 2,500 residents, surrounded by farmland. The next larger cities are around 20 miles away. Because we live in the middle of our town, almost everything is in walking distance - our small supermarket is just around the corner, the bakery is next door to our house and the church is next to the bakery. Normally I go to the supermarket every second day and drive to a larger discounter once in a week, but not now. These days I try to shop just once in a week or less. I'm always buying larger amounts so we have enough toilet paper, packet noodle soup (which my daughter loves) and all the other essential stuff at home.

We were given the order to stay at home on March 19th, but we can still go out for shopping, visiting the doctor and so on and also for a walk at the fresh air or for sport. But of course no gathering in larger groups, just with members of the own family/household or only one other person. The distance should be at least 5 ft, better 6. The weather isn't that fine at the moment so most people stay at home.

The children's school closed on March 16th, but they weren't given a lot of homework. My children are 14 and 18 years old, so this is not a problem, they know how to spend their time without me. Spring breaks just started a few days ago here.

My husband runs his own small company (he makes smoked ham and runs a small museum), but he's also diabetic so he decided to close on March 16th. Normally the season for the museum starts in April but all guided tours are cancelled for this month and also some groups cancelled the tours for May. This means no income this month for him. So my husband uses the time for some renovation works ... at the moment he is painting some walls in the staircase.

My uncle (who is only six years older than me) works as a caregiver in a psychiatric hospital and his wife works as a nurse in a hospital, so both of them have a lot of contact with patient and are in the front line.

We have some relatives who are in the 80s, they live in Bavaria (the very south part of Germany), close to the border to Austria. It's an eight hour drive to get there. We planned to visit them around easter but of course we won't do this anymore.

I heard we should have one resident with a positive test result but I don't know if it's true or who it is. So far none of my relatives and friends are tested positive or are ill (until today).

And as for "Social Distancing" - I'm introvert and don't have a lot of close friends, so I’ve been practicing that for years.

Stay stave - stay well.

I hope you're right, Marisa.
Fabian will finish school in May 2021 after 13 years and than starts to study at the university. The marks of this and the next school year are very important. I hope they will keep this in mind when it comes to the final exams next year.

I hope everything is okay with the baby and the potty training!

I'm in WMass (western Massachusetts) & I've been sick since March 8 or 9th with what is almost definitely COVID, but there aren't any tests unless you're hospitalized. Our state does have an online portal to where you can check symptoms & they'll suggest what to do. When I did it last week (on a day I was feeling much better), it told me to go to the ER immediately (but call first so they're prepared). Yikes. I'm in week four right now & had three wonderful breathing days where I felt really optimistic that I'd kicked this. And then yesterday hit & all the coughing & tight chest with lots of trouble breathing is all back (& today is just as bad). It would have been much easier to deal with this setback if I hadn't felt normal-ish for three days.

Now I'm scared again, watching my lips & fingernails to make sure they don't go blue from lack of oxygen (they did one day in week three but it went away), trying really hard to do relaxation exercises to relax my chest & lungs (but most involve breathing so they aren't working too well), & feeling really sad because someone we know died yesterday. You may have seen the news - Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne & other bands died from COVID. The co-founder of the band is one of our close friends so this hit hard. And now that I'm breathing much worse, I'm that much more scared. I also have mild asthma & no inhalers as I have a very bad reaction to anything resembling adrenalaine (which asthma inhalers do) so I'm dealing with all of this with no backup.

As for MA - our tiny town of 2400 shut down all town buildings early in March & only essential employees can work. Our governor has really stepped up & shut the entire state a week or so after our town shut down. All schools were announced as closed until May 4 & a couple of days ago he announced our statewide closure will be in effect until then, too. My husband's company furloghed all employees early in the month so they could claim unemployment, which is great, though it means living on less than half of what we had before. I'm really grateful I did stocking up shopping 2-3 weeks before everyone else did (I lived in Florida for 4 years so I learned to get ready for disasters as early as possible!) so at least we have plenty of food (& everything else).

I'm also really grateful to the owners of the New England Patriots (american) footbal team because they just flew in 1.2 million N95 masks from China for the state (& paid for half of them), many of which will, per Gov Baker, come to our end of the state. We are fairly rural & much less populated than the Boston end so we are often forgotten & that he didn't forget us means the world, especially since a friend has been working on the COVID unit at our local hospital since Monday.

Today I'm sewing masks for the three of us (me, husband, & brother). They may not help but they won't hurt & I figure if nothing else, they'll signal STAY AWAY so people will socially distance. I've been hearing stories from friends who have been shopping that people are walking right up to them & reaching around them to get things off shelves. Apparently Target shoppers are especially bad. This is all hearsay as I haven't left the house, except to sit on the deck steps to our river, for over three weeks (luckily I'm an introvert, own thousands of books, hundreds of DVDs, have Netlix, & masses of crafting supplies) so all my knowledge of the outside world is from Twitter, shouted conversations with friends from many, many feet away, & texts/FaceTimes with friends.

I hope everyone is doing well - & if you are in an area that hasn't been hit yet, PLEASE take this seriously. I am not sick enough to be hospitalized (yet, hope it stays that way!!!) but I feel AWFUL. Stay home, don't go out unless you have to, & if you do, social distance. Everyone take care (especially you, Marisa!) & here's hoping we all come out the other side of this mess (which is likely to come back in the fall) whole & healthy.

PS Sorry if this is long & rambling - I feel crappy & while I'm often long-winded, I usually edit but today you're getting the looooong stream of consciousness ramble!

(((Love & Prayers))) to you and all.

I understand the adrenaline issue, also cannot use any inhalers. Hang in there.

LOL at you son Jill. I totally get it. I asked, at work, if anyone wants to play cards using PPE instead of money... I'm willing to trade gloves for masks.

Marisa, I did not think of it from a schooling prospective.

I home schooled my kids until the graduated high school and they all turned out to be normal. They have normal IQ's, two own their own business, and one is a writer. They each married normal men and they all have normal children. The lack of socialization will not warp them, they will be just fine.

Since one daughter is now working from home, I am setting up a room here so the kids to come do their school work at my house. That way the are still "going" to school and she is able to work without so many interruptions.

Oh Sarah I hate that you are feeling so poorly. I pray that it is not COVID, there's certainly a lot of other illnesses out there that could cause the same symptoms, COVID is just the one getting all the attention right now.

I am super proud of the Patriots owner for buying the masks. Nurses are wearing masks for extended periods of time, they are not meant to be worn that way. They are designed to disposable, worn for one procedure and tossed in the trash. We (nurses) are breathing in our own carbon dioxide for 8-12 hours because we cannot remove our masks. If you sew enough masks, please donate some to a nursing home because the majority of government assistance will go to hospitals. This makes sense because they are on the front lines of this but the most vulnerable people are in the nursing home and the nurses are fighting hard to keep them healthy.

Let's see... I'm in Minnesota, my kids are now doing their schooling online; they haven't been in school for three weeks, this being the third week. I am an essential work for where I work, as is my spouse, but fortunately the places we work are small so there is no people traffic. My kids are frustrated they can't be around friends, and one of the websites they use for schooling is not working well what-so-ever. The pre-k kid of the group is probably in the roughest shape since she thrives on social interactions. Twice today I saw a statement about the crisis we are in, and how hard it is to be productive at work, and school kids at home, and take care of the home... it's a lot for everyone.. just gotta take it one day at a time..

Thank you for sharing Emily. What type work do you and your husband do?

I made this facebook cover if anybody wants it.

He's in local city government; and I'm in HR. There is a lot going on in the legislature to help those affected; I spend a lot of time trying to piece it all together so that workers know where to go and how to get the resources they need and to do so in a timely manner. Last week it was the FFCRA, this week is the Cares Act, Warn, and the small business loans and disaster relief... there is so much information to read, figure out, and to get out in a rapid pace.

I lifted and posted on my FB - lynde.young
Love that bird!

I'm glad there's people out there that help navigate all the resources. It can be overwhelming trying to figure these things out alone.

Has anyone heard from Sarah?

There are 9+ neighborhood kids playing in the street all together in a crowd and they do not even live on this street but on the next street over. I am so sorry their parents do not care if they get sick or give to neighbors for blocks around. The sheriff used the Code Red emergency system to alert everyone it could reach last night about the governor's orders.

Yes, we are on Shelter in Place with mandatory distancing as of last night. Most stores are now restricting entrance. Some are only 2 from the same family is maximum. Some health facilities will not let people 60 or older enter at all, others are servicing their clients in the parking lot while the patient stays in their car. Many Drs are closed, eye exams, podiatrists and others not considered needed to keep you alive. Our main nursing home has a positive COVID-19 case who was removed to the hospital as soon as the test results came in. All nursing homes are restricting clients to their rooms.

But here are the neighborhood kids in the street unrestricted, sharing chips out of the same bag, playing basketball and tag and hand slap games, a normal Spring night. I can't stop crying.

Well my payment to PS went through so I am safe for another month. smiley

I made a page for the Corona Virus Challenge which explains my familys story, but basically we have been in self isolation for the last 2 months!!

My son is in grade 12 and is supposed be graduating this year - even if he has been homeschooling. We did make plans for him to do the GED exam, just so he had something official on record - but that will now have to wait until a later time. And he cannot get into University or College while they are all closed, so I guess he will have to look for an opportunity online to perhaps make some money.

I would not be surprised if this continues for quite a few months.

I can remember when the SARS scare was happening. John was still just a baby (he was born in 2002) and my husband and I simply chose to cancel or reschedule any appointments we had for any hospitals until that whole episode was over. We did mostly stay at home that year (2003), so we got through it with little effect.

Since John has been homeschooling for his high school years, he is already used to staying home, so really we are not doing anything different.

However, since John, myself and my husband all have chronic or autoimmune illness, we will not go outdoors at all for the time being, except for hubby who has to buy the food. Not even for exercise.

We have effectively been in self isolation since late January 2020 and so far we are all doing fine.

I am very busy reading for the 3 months UNO Challenge on Goodreads - my first time there - so I did not have a lot of time to make pages in March and I was also exhausted after the February Madness plus all the reading for UNO. April is now the third and last month!!

Toronto is under a strong shelter in place advisory which everyone seems to be adhering too. I dont see any kids playing around outside, although I do see the occasional walker or runner out for exercise.

Kids just don't understand but their parents should.

I have not seen or heard any kids in my neighborhood for a couple of weeks. Maybe this means that some parents are listening to the news. Our stay at home order went into effect today but most Alabamians have been following the social distancing strategy even before we had our first positive case. I'm not sure social distancing has slowed the spread though.

*My perspective on people following the rules could possibly be tainted though because my work environment is very strict. I may be judging all behaviors by the people I am around the most.

About the social distancing nor working - thats because the CDC (or was that Dr Fauci?) now says that even talking and breathing still passes the virus along to others - not just coughing and sneezing. Plus the fact that this virus can survive for several days (not just hours) so I am not surprised that social distancing doesnt work too well.

I know the economy will suffer, but I think self isolation is probably the only way to combat this virus, That is how they did it in China and Korea!! The downside of this is the requirement to obtain food - somehow.

In China I saw at least one video of the government doing food deliveries to neighbourhoods and apartment buildings and one designated person from each family went to pick up their family allotment at certain times. No need to go to any super market. It is also illegal for anyone to go outside without a mask!!

I am adding some vlog videos done by Tim McLean - an australian who was abandoned in Wuhan (he was unable to get to the airport when the rescue planes flew in). As of mid March, he seems to have survived. These are things he is commenting on about the "lax" attitudes by western governments in dealing with this virus.
picking up a food delivery
Asking why Australia (And the rest of the world) are not actively following the same strict precedures that China did in order to combat this virus.

Awsome tut on making your own mask w/o sewing.

Thank you for the tut Bina.

I'm leading a small group for making masks for healthcare workers. I have been buying fabric and repurposing scrubs (uniforms) for sewing. Today, I made a short trip for a fabric drop and then another trip to pick up masks that were complete. Both trips were non-contact. I feel kind of like a secret agent, putting things in a box and texting "I'm here", then leaving. smiley

We have made a couple of these now. I hope I got the link correct. Needs a cotton square or bandanna and 2 ponytail bands.

Since those are folder multiple times, can you breathe through them? We have to wear them for 8-12 hours at a time. I know masks are not intended to be worn that long but that is where we are.

Here is a mask my husband found on YouTube. A team at a hospital developed a mask, and this doctor refined it for her hospital. It does involve some sewing, but it does not have the thick folds and layers that most DIY masks have. It is also washable, and thus reusable. There is a pocket that you can slip a filter of some sort in. Some people were suggesting a piece of vacuum cleaner bag/HEPA filter but you would want to be sure it contains no fibreglass. One of the DIY masks the CDC has on their website uses a piece of coffee filter.

Madge, like the filters the schools ask for to hold snacks or craft supplies or whatever? The kind that go up in the basket? (Not a coffee drinker)

Praying for you Sarah. Keep us updated when you can! smiley

Have been reading up here and wow, I just hope that you all are able to stay safe. Many thanks for sharing your stories and your kind concern! smiley

Gina: you're a hero, nk. Deep kudos to everyone who works in health care or care in general. Prayers for the souls of the 50 Italian doctors and 500 Italian nurses that lost their lives in the fight against Corona.

I want to share something done locally here for the elderly who are confined to their compounds. Easter is especially hard for them, so lonely in the homes... A local music drive: drive by the senior homes and have local musicians play outdoors for them, so they can come to their patios and enjoy the live music, all at a social distance. It's great fun. smiley

I understand that it can be very challenging to be at a confined space with younger children but I totes agree with Marisa, 95% of the kids won't have problems resulting from not going to school. Those 5% could be the ones that also have or cause problems when they go to school or when they are in any other given situation. I didn't go to school once for 4 months and another time for 9 months and finished college with 16, maybe that is why, lol.

Thank you so much for the mask tutorials. Someone asked me today about using coffee filters. These masks are not approved by CDC but neither are the way healthcare workers are having to wear their masks for prolonged periods of time. Using a coffee filter, paper towel, vacuum clean bag, etc.. is adding extra layers of protection. We don't know how much protection it offers but any protection is better than none.

I am seeing so many heros every day! We are making history without a map of where we are going. People are scared but they are stepping forward and volunteering to help in ways that just a month ago we could have never imagined. I am proud to be one of the many who is focused on making life better.

Yes, Amanda, those are the ones... the paper filters, some round like the basket, others are cone shaped.

Gina, it is heartbreaking to see heroes who place their next breath on the lines for others being denied the very thing they need to keep themselves and others safe. I am still hoping that those who hoarded gloves and masks will see the light and donate those precious items.

In the meantime, we make do... So, the CDC does not actually approve of homemade masks, but their website does recommend three near the middle of this page:
The last one actually uses a coffee filter. The vacuum bags are scary as some have fiberglass which can be inhaled. I also read that you can include a filter cut from a non-woven reusable grocery bag (not the plastic coated ones). It seems that they are made from a similar material that the N95s are.