The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating effect on my travel writing. As I was updating the blog over the past few months, I realized that we’ve had a whole lot of fun over the past few years. I’m deeply grateful that Bill and I got to do so much in Europe since we moved back here in 2014. But now what are we going to do? How is this virus going to change things for the immediate future?
I could easily come up with some posts about our travels so far. I could write more about what living in Germany is like when things are “normal”. But what if things aren’t normal anymore? Things are still evolving… and I literally haven’t left my neighborhood in a month. Bill goes to work sometimes and handles most of the shopping and picking up the mail at our U.S. post office in Wiesbaden. But I stay home.
I don’t even have a mask yet. I have my reasons for that. First off, I only leave the house to walk Arran. Secondly, I don’t think the homemade masks are very effective. Theoretically, it seems like they would help, but we’re dealing a virus, which is extremely tiny. The virus can penetrate a fabric mask or your eyes, if they aren’t covered. If the virus is on a ball of saliva, maybe its transmission will be slowed, since the ball of saliva would have a harder time escaping the mask. But if you don’t wear the mask properly, and many people don’t, the homemade mask is not useful and, in fact, gives some people a false sense of security. Many people will reuse them, too, without properly laundering them.
Now… if I have to go on post, I’ll need a mask. I guess I’ll either make one or buy one, just so it looks like I’m following the rules. But frankly, I think it’s better to simply stay away from people, which is what I’m doing. I stay in the house with Arran or sit outside in my yard. I walk the dog and stay far away from other people. Bill has a mask, so he goes out in public. So far, masks aren’t mandatory in Germany. In fact, there are tentative plans to reopen some businesses this coming week. Schools are going to open in May. But things aren’t going to be normal for a long time.
Anyway… I don’t have any delusions that we will ever be rid of the coronavirus. It’s just one more exotic disease that will probably not be so exotic as time passes. I did read some exciting news stories about doctors who have figured out how to treat the illness. One story came out of Richmond, Virginia. If you’re in Europe, you will need a VPN to read it. Another was on CNN, about a company creepily called Gilead that makes a drug that seems promising. But the headlines are more negative than positive…
What’s so scary about this virus is that it’s affecting people differently. Bill has a co-worker whose had it. He and his wife are now mostly recovered. And I have a friend whose sister has it and is currently on a ventilator. It does look like she’s going to recover. She’s been improving. But she’s been on a ventilator since last weekend, and even though her need for oxygen is going down, she’s still in a fragile situation. I’m sure that at some point, most of us will be exposed… but until we have some kind of vaccine or treatment, a lot of people are going to be affected by this and many people will get very sick and even die.
So it puts a damper on our travel plans… and even our plan to adopt a new dog is affected. We have our eye on one, but he’s in Kosovo and can’t get to Germany until the borders open and he can have a blood test done. Our situation is better than a lot of people’s, but it really is sad and scary to see what’s happening to the world this year.
Maybe I’ll feel more like writing about travel soon. For now, I think it’s going to take some time.