We are 2 weeks into “social distancing” in Minnesota. Governor Walz has issued an order to stay at home except for urgent activities such as grocery shopping, doctor visits, buying gas. People are behaving as instructed, mostly. Some are irrational: hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes, eggs and milk. Stores are restocking essential items that are gone within an hour.

Some of the confusion is caused by President Trump who daily tells the public that we are taking care of things, hospital are in good shape, businesses should be opened as normal by Easter. Those in the front lines know we have just begun to see the pandemic come to life in this country where more people are infected than in any other nation. Hospitals do not have necessary “PPE” (personal protection equipment). Doctors and nurses are wearing the scarce masks and gowns all day, going from patient to patient without new protection, sometimes putting garbage bags over their gowns which are porous. Ventilators are in extremely short supply. Testing is so scarce that many places are not able to identify those needing extraordinary medical treatment. People are dying for lack of essential treatment. There is no cure or medicine that relieves symptoms and we are probably 18 months from a vaccine.

We have canceled a trip to California for a Senior Cup Tennis Tournament where George was registered to play. We also will not be going to Broadway for our theater weekend, or to concerts by the MN Orchestra and St Paul Chamber Orchestra. Theaters are closed until further notice, so all our scheduled arts experiences are not being held. Our river cruise to Eastern Europe has been canceled by us. We learned that getting “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance is wise. We were insured for much less than our expenditures for the Gate 1 cruise.

This may be only the beginning of the frightening life we will face as a new normal.