Sunday, March 15, 2020

The world on pause: How coronavirus pandemic quickly changed our lives


When will everything go back to normal again?

The answer: No one really knows.

So far, 2020 has not been a good year.

It's been almost two months since the world lost Kobe Bryant, and many of us are still mourning his death. Now, we're in the middle of a real-life global pandemic. 

The novel coronavirus outbreak has changed the way we are living, day by day, as the deadly disease has infected hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, and the numbers are rapidly changing as more people become infected daily. 

The number of US coronavirus cases has passed 2,800 as of Saturday (March 14). 

About that self-quarantine life

I just came back from a week-long vacation after celebrating my birthday. I hung out at the Atlantic City casinos and gambled, I celebrated at bars, I went out to dinner multiple times, and I also had a blast celebrating in the Poconos Mountains. But no worries, I had my hand sanitizer in my pocket, I washed my hands frequently (as always), and I didn't touch my face.

I'm pretty sure this was my last hurrah for a while. Life drastically has changed since last weekend. 

My entire break was consumed with coronavirus news and how it was getting worse. There's no escaping it: coronavirus news, updates and chatter is everywhere. It has taken over social media and our TV's, it has changed the way we live, and it's the leading (if not only) topic in conversations. 

I recently shopped at a Modell's store and I noticed the cashier had on a pair of gloves. He also elbow bumped another man he knew who was on his way out of the store. 

The guy leaving yelled out, "stay healthy!" 

The cashier responded, "I'm not tryna to catch that corona, man."

Yup, life has changed. 

People are now way more conscious about cleanliness and avoiding germs as videos of how to properly wash your hands surface. PSA's on the importance of 20 second-hand washing is the new trend.


We used to say "bless you" when one sneezes but God forbid you sneeze (or cough) in public now from seasonal allergies or just the common cold, strangers will give you the death stare or side-eye just from thinking you may have the coronavirus.

I'm guilty of this. I definitely side-eyed a couple of people on the train to New York about two weeks ago after I heard them cough and I pulled my hoodie up over my mouth and nose (like that is actually going to do something).

When I think of all that has happened so suddenly with coronavirus, I think of the '90s movie "Outbreak" ... mostly the scene where the man coughs in the movie theater, and it freaks me out. 

President Donald Trump recently declared a national emergency and the public panic only increased. Hoarders have lost their ever-loving minds as grimy non-hand washers finally believe in the importance of soap and water. If anything, this virus made a lot more people step up their daily cleaning habits. 

Supermarket madness is real as toilet paper, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers have become hot commodities. 

Businesses, offices, gyms, schools, restaurants, churches, mass transit, etc. are all forced to enhance their cleaning efforts as they try their best to ensure the public that it's "safe" to still visit. 

And, price gauging is at an all-time high as some make an extra buck off of the public's fear.

Social distancing is the new way of living: The impact of coronavirus on the economy and daily life around the world 

#StayHome and #NetflixAndStayStill were recently trending on Twitter, encouraging people to stay home, stay healthy, and prevent the passing of germs. 

Teaneck, New Jersey has asked residents to self-quarantine. Teaneck is in Bergen County which is currently reporting 25 cases (the most in the state), according to the New Jersey Department of Health, with the majority of cases in Teaneck. 

Plans are halted, many schools have been closed all over the world, and sports, recreational and entertainment events are on pause. 

Here's the impact of coronavirus on our daily lives:
  • Vacations, plans, family outings, dinner dates, etc. are being canceled.
  • Social distancing is becoming the safe and necessary thing to do. 
  • Schools are closed as students are pushed into remote learning.
  • Many colleges extended their spring break and some college dorms have sent students back home.
  • Many graduation ceremonies and proms have been canceled. 
  • Some work offices closed up shop as many employees are being encouraged to work from home.
  • Etiquette has changed: No longer should we shake hands. The elbow bump is the safer greeting.
  • Italy, France and Spain are on lockdown as coronavirus soars in Europe. 
  • Flights from Europe to USA are currently restricted, and more travel restrictions will happen.
  • Young people are capitalizing off of cheap flights and cruises as airlines lower their prices.
  • There's stock market trauma affecting 401(k) plans.
  • Food stores are being cleaned out.
  • Many festivals, concerts, venues and parades have been canceled.
  • A lot of restaurants and movie theaters have shut down.
  • Broadway shut down all productions.
  • American Dream, one of the largest malls in North America, closed and delayed the opening of its water park. 
  • "Fast 9" movie release has been pushed back a year.
  • The tax filing deadline has now been extended to July 15th. 
  • Large gatherings have slowed down and are in the process of being banned in certain cities/states. 
  • Disney Parks and Cruise Lines shut its doors.
  • Social distancing and "flattening the curve" has many couples making alternative plans for their upcoming weddings or just postponing dates. 
  • Funerals are now more complicated with restrictions. 
  • Some jury trials are postponed. 
  • Certain cities issued a curfew for residents.  
  • Sports are on hiatus, from high school and college to pro sports.
  • A lot of small businesses are suffering.
  • Incomes are being affected.
  • Some city residents have to self-quarantine.
  • Student loan interest has been waived by Trump. 
  • Church masses have been suspended.
  • Prisons are halting visits.
  • Nursing homes are in a panic.
  • Some people are even scared to drink Corona beer.
  • Hospitals are swamped and some are canceling surgeries in order to conserve their resources. 
  • Libraries are closed. 
  • Some liquor stores are closed. 
  • Productions of different TV and talk shows are on hiatus. 
  • Trains are less crowded as more and more commuters are staying home.

So, at this point, what can save this year? Maybe the premiere of "Insecure" season 4 in April.
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