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Coronavirus situation in South Florida: Waking up Slowly

Coronavirus situation in South Florida: Waking up Slowly

March 2020 · 5 min read · Florida

Floridians are a lawless bunch & the sunshine state invites recklessness. Last weekend, after being cooped up in our apartment all week following the alarming Corona news, my wife and I decided to drive to the beach (a five minute drive from where we live).

The streets were fairly empty driving up and we stopped to take pictures.

Trying to practice 'social distancing' on the beach, we chose a fairly secluded spot by the water, where we could enjoy the warm ocean breeze and I had a short swim.

On the way back, I passed by a hotel to use the restroom and was surprised to find bar, restaurant and pool packed. The spring-breakers who descend upon Fort Lauderdale, South Florida at this time did not seem to have a care in the world.

Typical teenagers, I thought, invincible and indifferent to the welfare of others -- they cannot grasp how serious the virus is and how we are all in this together.

Small relief to head back home and read this breaking news: 2 of the most popular spring break destinations in South Florida are enacting emergency orders to limit large gatherings on their shores & stifle the spread of coronavirus (which has infected at least 100 people in Florida.

Finally, some sense. But, I cannot blame the kids, alone. Not when the president of the divided states of America has been calling this pandemic a hoax, until very recently.

Furthermore, when I last checked the Center for Diseases Control & Prevention (CDC) the government website that millions of Americans trust, it was showing data that was days out of date in the middle of this pandemic...

A more reliable source is: where total cases in the USA is 5,723.

Further, while Trump and his administration was congratulating themselves on what a terrific job president Trump was doing, the shortage of test kits and information, was allowing the coronavirus to sweep the US.

Which puts the burden on us, as Americans and global citizens to better educate ourselves and hold ourselves accountable. Hoarding resources or, worse, fighting over them is unbecoming and counterproductive. As an Egyptian, coming from bidet culture, I'm especially confused by the panic over toilet paper!

Lately, I've been musing about how this pandemic and the way we respond to it offer us a ‘teachable’ moment...a mysterious opportunity gifted us in the form of a crisis.

I mean, short of a world war, when was the last time we recognized, truly, that we’re all in this together (since global warming seems too abstract for many)?

Yet, Covid-19 and the global lockdown offers us the time and space, as world citizens, to slow down, turn inwards and meditate upon the fact that others lives, literally, depend on us and vice versa.

This is a mighty, humbling and potentially transformative, moment if we can make the most of it. Perhaps, it might engender a newfound tenderness towards the vulnerability of all human life and its unpredictability...

By association, I think of Pascal’s moving, little prayer:

“Teach us the proper use of sickness.”

My hope is that our current predicament and this "coronapocalyse" can lead to the birth of a new world and consciousness.

Yesterday, the update from the White House was more serious: to avoid groups of more than 10 people, discretionary travel, as well as eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts. Trump also said schools are recommended to close and the guidelines are to last at least 10 days.

As I type this, out of an excess of caution, I have been self-quarantined in my room for 3 days, with my wife leaving me food on a tray, three times a day -- as I had a sore throat/cough and experienced fatigue/dizziness, the other day.

When I scheduled an appointment with a virtual doctor, I waited for 3 hours and then was disconnected.

Today, is St Patrick's Day and, I admit, it's a little frustrating not being outdoors on this pleasantly, sunny day. As I write this I have my window open and can hear a live band singing at the Irish pub across the street. I can also see that they've set tables and chairs outside and will be keeping my eye out to see how many people show up...

Alas, after I was pleased with Fort Lauderdale for enforcing a 5pm curfew on bars and restaurants (hardly anyone showed up to St. Paddy's celebration across the street) there is frustrating news...

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Despite people begging for the to shut down of beaches amid the spread of the coronavirus, the Florida governor refuses -- so with college kids here on Spring Break, body to body, the beach remains a petri-dish for disease and contagion, which these kids are bound to spread once they return home and kiss their grandparents...

Whatever boost to the economy the governor might have in mind is just not worth it. I think the sane thing for the governor to do is to allow the local officials to decide what's best.

Also, a lot of grocery stores are closing earlier, in an effort to give employees time to clean and restock. But, the problem with that is that they will be busier in shorter time span.

Plus, not to be too alarmist, bu there are a few studies that show that the virus can remain airborne for up to three hours after aerosol and you still have plenty of people not tested...

Stay safe & out of harm's way.

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To submit your report about how Coronavirus is affecting where you live, please, read this post for details.

[Update: just got off a video chat with a virtual doctor who assured me my symptoms are not covid-19. Phew.]

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