I remember reading a news article about the Coronavirus to my roommate on January 4th.
“So apparently, they found this pretty deadly new disease in China, and now there’s a confirmed case in France…But I’m sure it’s fine?”
Now, on day two of total confinement, we look at each other from across the room.
“When you read that article to me, I never thought it would turn into something like this.”
I never imagined I would be taking part in a nationwide quarantine. If you had asked me last month (heck, even last week) if I thought my life would change so suddenly, I would’ve laughed.
But it’s true. Our lives here in France changed in the blink of an eye.
When Real Life Feels Like a Movie… But not in a good way.
Thursday, my roommate and I watched as Macron announced that all schools will be closing for an undetermined amount of time.
Friday, I walked to work and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. Everyone was on edge. Work conversation was solely centered around what would happen as the virus progressed.
Saturday, I was out in the city with friends when we got the text saying the country passed into stage 3 of the epidemic. Just like that, all the bustling bars and restaurants were indefinitely shut down by midnight, and the streets were deserted.
Monday, Macron announced a total quarantine/lockdown throughout the country, following in the footsteps of Italy.
Today, I walked into the grocery store with our government mandated papers, a mask and protective gloves to do grocery shopping for the elderly. I was terrified I might touch something that could infect them.
The atmosphere of our town has completely changed.
It’s eerie hearing the church bells ring when no one is around. It’s comforting seeing the older woman in the apartment across from us reading her book on her balcony. It’s weird thinking how we will be stuck in this apartment for at least another two weeks.
I don’t say this to scare anyone, but I can’t help but notice many of my American friends who believe it’s a simple cold/flu and will pass easily. I’m not a medical professional, nor can I pretend to know the ins and outs of the virus, but it seems to be quite a bit more dangerous than a common cold or flu.
From Me to You… Whoever You Are
To those who are currently unaffected by the pandemic,
To those who don’t believe it’s “that bad,”
To those who aren’t sure what to think or do because of previous work or family or life commitments,
Please, stay at home. If you are at all able to work from home without it severely harming your financial/life situation, do so.
Some of you aren’t so lucky. Some of you are on the front lines, fighting the virus. Some of you have simply lost your work altogether. And I am genuinely heartbroken for all those who are losing their jobs and livelihood with this pandemic. But it is not too late for the United States.
It is too late for Italy.
It is too late for Spain.
It is (almost) too late for France.
It is not too late for you, America. Do not take this lightly.
Flatten the curve.
If you have any questions pertaining to my experience here during this time, or if you are interested in statistics/data/other informative news articles, please comment below. I would be more than happy to give out as much information as I can.