Tuesday, March 17, 2020

"shelter in place" is not really so bad for us. we live way out in the mountains on five acres, with fresh air all around, and national forest to the north and east, mostly national forest in the other directions too. our kids rely mostly on internet; they haven't really got into the habit of going around, exploring the canyons, walking up in the forest. they are teenagers though - it's a hardship to not be with their friends.

we are somewhat obsessively glued to the news, watching as the cycle speeds up and things keep happening. they put the bay area on "shelter in place," which is a nice word for lockdown, they close schools in new york and the east coast. our schools are already closed, but cases have been going up only about six a day - thirteen, nineteen, twenty-six, like that. new mexico does not have a huge population, and most of these cases are in the north, where the people are.

down here, it's a challenge to get people to take it seriously. twenty-six people out of a couple million doesn't seem scary enough, and lots of people in our community would just as soon go to the local bar and complain to their neighbors. my wife will tell them, on the facebook site, be sane, go home, ride it out, for the good of everyone. but i won't even do that, because i'm afraid of getting lifetime enemies. it's a tourist town. it's a place where people believe it's a hoax meant to bring down trump. it's a place where massive go-home-and-stay-home will take food off people's plate.

i read someone's comment - he said if they give a thousand to every american, "i'm a buy me a gun." i wouldn't quite go that far. way out here, almost everyone has a stockpile, but they use them mostly on the animals - the deer, the elk, the turkeys, an occasional rattler or lion. they aren't really afraid of the city coming out trying to steal stuff, but they're well aware that it happens and might start happening more often as things really go downhill. it's a tightknit community. we take care of each other particularly in the case of fire, and accidents, and things like that. i'm proud to live here.

the one who is most set back by this is the eighteen-year-old. he was set to be valedictorian of a small high-school class, maybe thirty people, and now school is canceled and may not come back, or if it does, it will come back online. he's ok with online. but he's worried about moving to a dorm in the fall, when it may not be over. in fact, it probably will not be over. even a nice long summer, out in the sun, will not keep people from dying in the city and places where they've come in contact with it.

one of the big problems is that it's vastly underreported. in colorado, numbers have been under two hundred for days. but i have a cousin there, who actually has it, and she was unable to be tested for about a week. she has a friend in similar situation: clearly sick, but not tested. for whatever reason, if there weren't tests, there weren't confirmed cases, and that made it harder for other people to be tested. what that means to me is that colorado, by now, is probably up to about three hundred, maybe four. vastly underreported.

and there are plenty of reasons it would be vastly underreported anyway. the first is that you go five to seven days before you show symptoms. that means that everyone it's hit, we're only seeing the later stages. if only the ones that feel something get tested, that's the ones for whom it's too late. we can't really go back and ask where they've been for five days.

spring break brings a new challenge - teenagers, in motels and on the beach, bringing it all back to wherever they came from. a disaster waiting to happen.

for us, the main idea is to get used to being out here. easy enough for my wife and me; we are retired, and we are where we want to be. harder for our kids, who really like their friends. talk to them online, we tell them. and we try to show them how.


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