Have you guys heard? There’s a pandemic going on and its name is COVID-19.
Of course, you know that. Every company you’ve ever given your address to is sending out “Our Response to COVID-19” emails just about every day. I’m so glad to know cupcake shops, clothing stores, and sports teams are handling the virus. Though, in reality, while those emails are overwhelming and ridiculous, I understand the need for a robust response to these crazy times. We’ve also seen everything on the planet get canceled including sports, festivals, flights, you name it.
The Department of State has issued Global Authorized Departure which basically means Sean and I could leave post if we wanted to. For Georgia, the main issue is the lack of viable flight options in and out of Georgia. Between the U.S. travel ban, Georiga’s travel restrictions, and other countries cutting off various routes, it’s hard to get home right now. I want to make it clear that Sean and I feel very safe and protected in Georgia, and we currently do not have any plans to leave. Georgia’s response to the threat has been excellent and the Embassy is doing everything to keep us as informed as possible. I’ve told Sean many times over the past several weeks: “I’m here with you until they force me to leave.”
In my other life, I work for a nonprofit with college health professionals. I’ve been a bit on the outskirts, but with the situation in the U.S., we’ve been focusing our efforts solely on supporting our members during this pandemic.
Between work, my embassy life, and discussions at home and between friends it’s extremely overwhelming and exhausting.
I was talking with my friend today, and we agreed our life sounds like this right now:
“COVID-19! Authorized departure…we need to make a list of ideas for quarantined people…how were the grocery stores?…COVID-19! Do you know what’s happening with the meeting?…here’s more resources…there’s another task force meeting at 1:00 and a town hall at 3:00…COVID-19!”
Though, as with everything, I see a clear silver lining.
I’ve been astonished over the past week or so at the sheer amount of togetherness I’ve felt even if we are physically isolated. I’m amazed at the number of museums, zoos, aquariums, parks, and whatnot offering virtual tours or live cameras to favorite exhibits. I’ve seen so many people sharing online resources for kids while they are home from school. So many services are offering extended free trials for usually paid memberships. The sheer amount of resources is astonishing and, quite frankly, a bit daunting. I want to take advantage of all of it at once.
So, as we stand as a global community and face the unknown, I hope we will continue to foster a sense of togetherness during these crazy times. I know we have the best medical professionals on the front lines, and I hope we healthy people can continue doing our part to keep the vulnerable safe as the virus continues to spread.
For now, be safe, wash your hands, and look out for one another.