Physically Apart During a Pandemic but Where are You Emotionally?

My sister flew in to town March 10 from Seattle, WA. At the time her part of the U.S. was experienced the first recorded COVID-19 case in the U.S. She landed in the Minneapolis four days after this first case. Data projections, comparing the U.S. coronovirus outbreak to Italy gives me the chills.

Originally, my wife and I had plans for heading to an arena concert on a Friday night, and we were going to drop off our kids at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, where my sister and her family were staying. The band cancelled their show, and we stayed home, cancelling the sleepover.

It was a tough decision, but we planned to head over there the following day for a Saturday hangout. The day was fantastic, filled with food, hanging out at the playground, and even an impromptu duck duck grey duck (or goose if you’ve grown up anywhere outside Minnesota.) My sister comes into town only once or twice per year.

The influencers I was listening and following leading up to the slow build of COVID-19 in Minnesota stressed the importance of staying home to flatten the curve and spread out the rate of infection so our healthcare centers aren’t overwhelmed. Read the importance of flattening the curve or listen to Sam Harris’ podcast from 3/11/20 and tell me there isn’t urgency in self-isolating to help the greater good.

My sister returns to Seattle tomorrow 3/22 and as of today they have 1,793 confirmed cases of the virus. Confirmed cases are only cases that have been tested, remember. I’m not a data scientist, but the little I’ve gleaned is pointing toward this pandemic being so much bigger than anyone ever expected.

So I told her that I didn’t want to get together the day before she departed to her home in Seattle, with the kids and everyone. I offered to get together her and I and walk six feet apart. She or I could have the virus. She was still going into the office until Tuesday. A door handle or table made out of stainless steel could host the COVID-19 virus for up to four days. The same Harvard study also sites that the viral droplets can remain airborn for up to three hours. The virus facts and hope to help minimize the spread erroded physical connection with my sister. She declined and flew home.

Since then, we’ve cancelled my four-year-old daughter’s birthday party with extendend family. I’ve hung out with my brother outside in my yard at six feet distance. My awesome wife has made two large trips to the grocery store for stocking up. And we really haven’t seen anyone in person, aside from crossing paths with people out walking. It’s hard.

But thanks to Zoom, FaceTime, and multitudes of other ways to video-chat with friends and family. Thanks to the old-fashioned phone–if you still call and talk to people. Thanks to God’s will for us to all be together, we can still connect. We have to. Maybe this entire virus has entered humans to help us be more intentional about our communication? At this point it’s hard to say, but imagine various ramifications one year, three years, or 10 years in the future.

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