On the 28th of February 2020, the first case of Coronavirus in the United States was reported and confirmed in the Bothell area, Washington. Before then, the only place that had any idea or that really bothered about what the virus was all about where the people of the Wuhan district in China who since January 23rd of 2020, have been on lockdown.
From the first reported and confirmed case, others have popped up in Florida, Rhode Island, New York, and Georgia, and as the number of cases increases so does the level of panic of all American citizens who definitely from the start did not think that America would be hit by it, as the president himself Donald Trump had on the day the first case in the country was confirmed announced that he thought that the whole illness thing was a hoax and it shouldn’t warrant any worry from the people.
The president’s assurance then about the disease reflected the state of mind of the people too who thought that so far the disease didn’t and wouldn’t get to America they had no reason to worry or bother about anything related to Coronavirus. Hence, once the disease was diagnosed and confirmed the panic rate couldn’t be any higher.
A waitress in Washington shares how things have been so far in Bothell, Washington — the place where the first case was confirmed.
Her first admittance was the fact that many were unprepared for it, neither the locals nor the entire country itself was ready. Unpreparedness that was obvious and evident in the lack of any knowledge of many about the disease — how it works, how it spreads, safety and precautionary measures, the facilities, and means to test for the disease and so on.
She recounts the sudden scarcity of any form of basic and approved hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, face masks, and other precautionary items up to the level of distributors like Amazon. From the scarcity of basic precautionary items, the need to be cautious took over all establishments. From the regular cleaners, her establishment like many others began to take safety steps as hers switched to sanitizers to clean and disinfect. As at then according to her, there was still no general or official guidance on what to do with regards to precaution about the disease.
A little later the CDC released guidelines and proper information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, further explaining what it is all about and how it spreads — which is through a person-to-person contact of coughing or sneezing, as the CDC writes: “These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.” It can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose.” They were also made aware of the term “community spread” which tags a situation where the manner of contraction is unclear.
The increasing number of incidents and the occurrence of deaths which according to statistics and records so far from New York Times reports is that there are 90,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,000 deaths globally is scary, the scare is even bigger and it has been incapacitating many to the point where the thought of staying away from work and staying in is becoming an option and a very viable alternative. The uncertainty of where the next case will come up from or who it will be is visibly seen in the anxiety and frantic actions of many like the barista at the local cafe and the very clear highways.
Now, people are getting more and more informed and up to date on the virus, what to expect and what to do or should be done, although it doesn’t make anyone less anxious and stressed out about it. Testings have been ongoing so far according to the NPR, the news posted by the Washington Post that a computation biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found nearly identical virus samples between that teenager and from a person who was possibly infected in January and had traveled to this area from China heightened the worries about how fast the virus can spread.
The fact is that the entire United States is scared and worried about how much damage this virus can do to the citizens, and despite the reactive response of the people, many like the receptionist are trying to skip the panic phase and move on to the neighbor-supporting-neighbor phase, where the palpitating and evident fear is lessened by acts of friendliness and the desire to help not just yourself but all those around.