COVID-19 Blog Page

This page is just a record of information that I want to keep for my family and my kids. I’m not an expert by any means, so if you happen upon this page, please be aware that this is just a “diary” page for our family.

I started writing this on Saturday, March 14 just a day after VA’s governor declared a state of emergency & our local schools were closed for the next month.  I tried to go through and write up some of the things that happened in the past few weeks and when.  For example, I started shopping for supplies and stuff back on March 4th.  Now (March 14) there have been reports of runs on the store for everything from toilet paper and cleaners to other basic necessities (pasta and things like that).  It was a tumultuous 24 hours as all the kids’ activities were canceled & local schools were closed.

You’ll find this is blog format (I’ll be adding the newest thoughts at the top.)  I’ve kept a diary for years… and just need to write & process & deal with all this in one of the ways that helps me… diary/journal form.

May your family stay healthy and safe. ~Liesl

Sad news from yesterday, May 1st… My cousin’s son took his own life. I’m so sad.

Back in Feb. 2011, my cousin’s son was severely wounded in Afghanistan. He lost his leg, endured many surgeries, and struggled with PTSD.  Yesterday, he took his own life. Rory has three kids.  It’s so devastating.

This is from 2011:

I have always been extremely close to my cousin. We’re three weeks apart in age and that made us have a very special bond/connection growing up and on into adulthood. She had her kids at a young age and I had the privilege of watching her kids grow up through the years.

My cousin’s son, R, is in the military (Marines) and is stationed in Afghanistan. We found out last night that R lost his leg below the knee when an IED exploded. He’s in good spirits and has been in contact with his wife and his Mom/Dad/brother/sister. R and his wife have two young children (almost 2 and almost 3). He’ll be transferred to Germany before returning to the US.

Another quick update: R had surgery (one of many, many he’s had in the past week) a couple days ago to attach the muscle to the bone. Apparently it was very painful. That coupled with the fact that they found a blood clot in his lung, R is having a tough time. My prayers, love and hugs to R.
I wrote a short post about my cousin’s son who was wounded in Afghanistan two weeks ago today. He lost his leg below the knee when an IED exploded. His leg was amputated out in the field. In fact to make this story all the more impressive … when his medic froze, he actually helped guide the medic through the steps needed to cut off extra bits/tie off the wound, etc. Fortunately no one else in his unit was wounded, but our heart still goes out to him for the recovery and adjustments he’ll need to endure in the coming months. He was evacuated first to Germany and has been back in the US for about a week. The kids, hubby and I were finally able to go visit him this weekend and are amazed at how good he looks. He, his wife and his Mom (my cousin) have been very impressed by the care he has received. He’s fighting fungal infections (because conditions in Afghanistan are so poor), but is making good progress (though he’s been in and out of surgery). We are ever so proud of his courage and strength.

He was awarded the purple heart this past week and was honored to receive it directly from President Obama. He has had the support of those in his unit, his friends and family — but to know that his country truly honors his courage and sacrifice… is a comfort as well.


Here is a tribute to Rory from one of the people involved in making The Hornet’s Film (in which Rory was featured).

Here is a tribute to Rory:
My heart is absolutely broken as I write this. I just received a message about another American Hero, who was part of our Family by choice, he had the darkness overcome him today. 
I will never forget Rory. USMC CPL (ret) Rory Patrick Hamill was introduced to me early in the making of The Hornet's Film. Rory Hamill was a Father, US Marine combat wounded veteran, amputee, and motivational speaker. He is part of the heart a soul of the Marine experience in the film. He was a hard ass, a leader, 3rd maybe 4th generation Marine, and a guy all the Marines, Soldiers from the US Army 101st AB, Operators and Gold Star Families involved with the film embraced. 
He lost his leg in Afghanistan, and when all you want to be is a Marine that's a pretty hard card to be dealt He told me many times that's all he wanted to be since he was a kid. A UNITED STATES MARINE. 
He had been on multiple deployments and had lost too many Brothers. He told us he only would be part of the film to remember his Fallen Warriors plus he wanted to help Wounded Warriors. President Obama presented him with his Purple Heart at Walter Reed Hospital.
Rory was a powerful speaker and like to speak at the events.
Rory would show up at screenings with a suit on and shorts to show off his Bionic Leg. It blew people minds and made it very real when he spoke in front of audiences. 
He represented his unit 2nd Battalion 8th Marines with incredible pride and love. Americas Battalion. 
He made friends the 101st AB Soldiers and many of their Gold Star Families at many of the screenings we did all over the Country. He wanted to be out front to help others, project his pain to do good. He shared the stage with his Marines, 4 star Generals, and the Gold Stars. We drank too much on these tours but we were remembering the people who couldn't be there. He was a leader with the film and people would come up and shake his hand and hug him. He asked me what do I do if a General tries to hug me, I said Hug them back. Which he did many times. 
He spoke at West Point with Army Cpt Tye Reedy of 101st AB, 2-327 No Slack which I know as a Marine Cpl he loved. He loved his son and daughter. God bless his children. 
Rory, I will never forget you, I know part of you never came home, and you fought the demons for years my young Brother. We will meet again. I salute you. May you Rest in Peace. David Salzberg Jr

I have such happy memories of Rory tucked into my mind… his laughingly chasing Connor around, his energy as he zoomed around your house… in my mind he is such a smiling, laughing, up-beat kid! He was so proud to join the Marines… and endured so much when he was wounded and in the time after that… I am so grateful that I knew him, and so incredibly sad. 💔

Tuesday, April 28

We now have about 13,500 cases in Virginia. It’s doubled in the past two weeks.  There are about 4,000 cases in our county and in the neighboring county where Hubby works (we live right on the boundary between the two).

Where my folks live (in NJ) there are 111,000 cases!  That’s just crazy. Luckily, they are both doing fine so far and are being very cautious when they go out to the grocery store.  They have been unable to get deliveries, so go out during senior hours.

There are still shortages on some things. Toilet paper is still a bit hard to find. And all of the grocery stores around us are out of flour (any kind of flour you can think of white flour, bread flour, wheat flour)… the shelves are empty.

From what I gather, there will be some severe meat shortages coming soon.  I read that Maryland had to kill 2 MILLION chickens because there was no way to process them!  That is SO many dinners for families!  I hope I’m wrong, but I bet that by the end of May meat will be extremely hard to find. I sure hope I’m wrong!

Today the girls and I volunteered at the food pantry. We were there from 8 til 1pm… we set up, made markings on the sidewalk (12 feet apart), set up all the tables & rain thing and then met the various trucks & delivery people when they arrived… then put everything in bags to distribute.

Food Pantry We also have a mini-pantry box and a friend and I have been putting together breakfast and dinner packs. These are for between the scheduled food pantry days (which only happen every two weeks). A little food is left in the courtyard mini-pantry box.  It is to help out people if they phone and need food… they are told where to find it. (Because I doubt people would notice this just driving by.)

And here’s a picture of the girls… The new norm… with face masks on!

On a happy note, ED made a really pretty wreath for the front door. One day she noticed a big piece of grass sticking out of her wreath. She looked closer and saw that a bird had built its nest there! Now we have a Mama Bird there! We’ll be going in and out of the garage for a while!Birds Nest - front door

Tuesday, April 14

The numbers of cases continue to rise in our area. Today Virginia is at 6,000+ cases. Our county has just 500 cases; the county where Hubby works is now over 1,200.  But then when you compare that to NJ (where my folks live) which has 62,000 cases, there’s really no comparison, right?  It’s all relative.

Life for us has been pretty good. We continue to homeschool… we’ve been steady about things… doing math, literature, science & history most days… continuing on with foreign languages (the kids do German, the girls do Spanish, LD has been learning Japanese).  Our academic routine really wasn’t affected much because they have a combination of online classes, purchased curriculum & units that I pull together. For history, we’ve been studying the Cold War. I have a post I’m itching to share about all that, but I think that’s more appropriate to share on the actual blog than here on this page. 🙂  Of course, the kids are missing their other activities… sports, music, scouts, hanging out with friends (in person), but we’ve all done a lot of Zoom meetings to keep those connections up.

As for other things… we’ve done a lot of work in the gardens… spreading hundreds of bags of mulch.  And, we’ve planted a lot of spring-time veggies in the vegetable garden. (Below are regular gardens, obviously, but you can see our veggie garden in the collage further down below…)

Mulch - Gardens

ED & I went backyard camping (for one of her GS badges). Boomer also slept in the tent in her doggie bed. (Picture bottom left… and also a picture of the tent.)

And, we’ve made a lot of masks!  We made some for the food pantry volunteers, have sent some off to people we know (friends, family, acquaintances) and also dropped off two huge Ziploc bags of masks to the local assisted living facility.  We have another 15 or 20 that people have requested and hope to be able to donate some more to another assisted living facility.

Coronavirus Life

DD and I spent time helping out at the local food pantry. DD was putting items in plastic bags in the picture below.

Food Pantry Delivery and Set UpI’m feeling a little more connected with the community after helping with the food pantry, but it did make me nervous that a few of our volunteers didn’t wear masks (chose not to wear masks… we had plenty of masks on hand for everyone who wanted one) as it was difficult to stay the required 6-feet away from one another as we unloaded the truck delivery, helped carry in other food donations and sorted/created bags for people. But on a happy note, some of the delivery personnel were really happy to get masks. One person had a towel wrapped around her head and was SO happy when I asked if she wanted one of ours.  The girls should feel proud. (They have helped cut the fabric, pin, sew, etc. It’s definitely been a joint effort!)

Behind the scenes here at the Homeschool Den, I’ve been working on a number of packets. I feel behind (have a lot of things that are 3/4 of the way finished)… but took the weekend “off” from blogging/business and really enjoyed family time.  Easter was really special, despite not being able to go out or be with the wider community.

So, all in all, we’re doing well!  I guess I’m not feeling as inclined to write here (on this page) as time gets taken up by homeschooling and the various activities we’ve been up to.  Plus, I’ve been feeling over-done with the news. While I still read bits and pieces in the mornings or evenings, I’m trying to stay off my phone during the day. I feel like it’s a waiting game… waiting to see if the number of cases level off, waiting to see when America starts to open back up again.

Wishing you and your loved ones health & safety!! ~Liesl

Sunday, March 29

The numbers are really increasing quickly.  No one can ignore what’s going on in New York City, where there are nearly 30,000 cases and NYC’s 911 call center is overwhelmed. This article is chilling. It’s devastating.  News from New Orleans is grim too… and places everywhere are increasing exponentially in numbers.

Closer to home, Virginia’s numbers seem almost inconsequential by comparison: Saturday’s (3/28) 743 cases mark an increase from 614 on Friday (3/27) (129 new cases in Virginia… but by comparison 84 people in NYC *died* in that same stretch),

Earlier in VA: 465 on Thursday (3/26), 398 on Wednesday (3/25), 304 on Tuesday, 259 on Monday, 222 on Sunday, 158 on Saturday, 124 on Friday, 101 cases Thursday. Here’s our state’s latest graph:

Coronavirus Graph - COVID 19 Cases in Viringia - March 2020I was once in a terrible train accident. I was heading home from Adelaide (in South Australia) to Alice Springs (Northern Territory, where we lived for 12 years) and had  been on board for maybe a half hour or an hour, when the train jolted, screeched and came to a shuttering stop. When I looked out my window, the scene was horrific.  By the train had come to a stop, my window looked out on a scene I will never forget… a mangled bus just out my window with someone drooped through the windshield, not moving.  Someone in white taikwando clothes (or something), under the front portion of the bus, people… children being taken off the bus, sitting on the curb, blood… it was pure shock… and for what felt like the *longest, longest* time, no one was there to help. No ambulance, no police.

I had lots of thoughts in those moments, in those minutes… I was trained as an EMT and everything in me screamed out that I should run and help… but then my EMT credentials had lapsed and also I was an American… and also sometimes too many people on scene make it chaotic. There was no way they’d let people on a train race out and help the people on the ground. After all, I wasn’t a doctor. So, I sat there frozen. The scene etched in my brain then… and now.  Lots of people died. It felt like lots – 5 or 6? I don’t know how many and I refuse to “google it” to find out, though I’m pretty sure a school child or two was among those who died.  (In Australia, kids use a regular bus, not a yellow school bus like in America.)

I’ve thought about that helplessness a lot through all this. In a lot of ways, many of us are caught on the train – looking out at horror unfolding in front of us.  I feel so grateful for those who are serving and helping our society – the nurses, doctors, EMTs, fire fighters & policemen, grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, truck drivers… Those people working steadily, valiantly to help in this time of crisis.

Here are some things those of us not in the essential services can do/are doing…

  • We are taking care of our families.
  • If you are a homeschooler, you can continue with the routine (as best you can). Maybe start a really good book that the entire family can enjoy.
  • You can take care of yourself by exercising, eating right.
  • Consider adding in music and/or art to help with the stress.
  • You can help your community by
    • giving blood (my niece just did that yesterday) – Due to the cancellation of blood drives, the American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage.
    • reaching out to your family & relatives and friend to stay connected,
    • buying extra for your food pantry… even a package of spaghetti helps or donating if you’re able.
    • Seeing if your local meals on wheels program needs extra help distributing food to seniors.
    • locating and donating extra supplies/gear needed in your community… for example, on (a website that is compiling lists of who needs home made masks) I saw that one of the places near us is out of wipes… perhaps if you have an extra container of Lysol wipes it could help prevent spread in your local assisted living facility.  Look around and see what is needed
    • helping those who can’t or shouldn’t leave the house (offer to do their shopping).
    • offering to help someone who is home bound with technology… talk them through setting up zoom or other video
    • buying gift cards to local restaurants
    • crafters can make face masks (see links, etc. below)
  • Consider planting a garden. A Washington Post article talks about how therapeutic it is. Right now you can plant leaf lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, peas, broccoli outside. And indoors you could be starting tomatoes and other things.
  • Try some new dishes… for example, make homemade pizza dough or try making a new curry dish.
  • Be patient and be kind with yourself. If you are stressed or feeling helpless or overwhelmed, it’s okay.
  • Take a moment to give your family and extra big hug. Be loving with yourself and others.


I find I’m a bit distracted from my (business) work… but am certainly doing a lot of work outside!  Here’s a quick picture of our weekend’s work… weeding, mulching and picking up some wood from a neighbor (for next winter). Normally?  We’d have spent most of the weekend away from home for soccer games and other things.

Weeding Mulching and firewood

Wednesday, March 25

It’s been a busy couple of days. We’ve been keeping a fairly normal homeschool routine… we’ve been finishing up our studies of the Korean War, for example, doing math, writing… but there’s that lingering part of me that wondered what more we could be doing.  Which led me to thinking about sewing masks…

Last summer, DD and her friend did their Silver Award for girl scouts. They made reusable grocery bags for our local food pantry.  So, I’ve been thinking maybe we could make some cloth masks and donate them.

I couldn’t sleep this morning and as I was drinking my coffee, I saw an CNN article that said that people or forming sewing circles to make masks & that some hospitals are accepting them.

I read that places need masks to use over the single N95 mask they are given to make them last longer.

I  spent time looking into it and found this website where you can type in your state and see who needs/wants masks: . First off, I saw that a local assisted living facility right down the road from us is requesting 500 masks… And then kept reading down the list and there were appeals from so many other places. For example here was another…

One hospital – said they are a 277-bed psychiatric in-patient unit with over 900 staff – “we admit patients requiring treatment for mental illness as well as those court-ordered for evaluations and treatment.” What they need: at least 1500 masks would be helpful for staff to use and reuse after washing as we have about 10 days’ supply of the disposable surgical masks and unable to procure any at this time – all adult sizes.

Another said they need: All sizes – as many as we can get. We have thousands of employees with no protection at this time.

The more I looked over our state, the more I realize maybe the girls and I could really make a difference. I’m going to talk about this when they get up. This seems really important and something we can actually do.

Hospitals that Are Accepting Homemade Masks: There’s a document being put together here: We Need Face Masks by a student group at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health which has begun calling all the hospitals in the U.S. to determine whether or not they’re accepting handmade masks. That document will also explain whether they need a specific pattern. 

Here is one tutorial that has been recommend several times How to Make a Mask and with a sewing pattern (Face Mask Sewing Pattern with seam allowance included) and Joann also has a video tutorial that uses bias tape (so they can tied). UnityPoint Health in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has shared this face mask pattern. Seems like something we could do…

And if you were like me and wondered if they were really wanted, needed and/or acceptable: “According to the CDC, in a crisis situation like this, they are better than nothing” said Jamie in this article.

The CDC states: In settings where face masks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

But again, some hospitals use them *over* their PPE and other places have NO masks at all. So, it sounds like this really is a need.

Update… the girls and I have managed to make a dozen or so masks & will figure out how to get it to those in need.  We joined a FB group called the Million Mask Challenge. They’ve been connecting people & places in need.

Masks for DonationCoronavirus Cases: The latest in our state yesterday (Tuesday, March 24): 304 cases and 45 hospitalizations. Monday, March 25: 254 cases on Monday

Morning fog in our neighborhood:

Morning Fog

Sunday, March 22

I talked with my Dad last night. (He lives in NJ.) Dad & Helen’s [my Mom died about 20 years ago and my Dad remarried] beloved cat, Kochka, died.  She had died not too long before they got up yesterday morning. She was over 20 years old [in fact my Mom & Dad got Kochka and had her for a couple of years before Mom died] & so a very important part of their lives for many, many years.  So sad.

While we were talking Dad mentioned that they live just a mile or two from the family that lost four family members – a mother and 3 of her kids (in their 50s). Dad said that he & Helen go to the same clinic as those families.  Scary for it to be so close by. Also, one of the people who died in NJ was in his 30s.

Not long after we talked, we found out that NJ is on lock down.  I hope that keeps Dad & Helen safe.

Today there are 64 new cases in VA for a total of 222 cases, yesterday it was 154, Friday it was 124, Thursday was just 97. I made a graph of the stats that I had kept. It’s pretty steep.

Covid19 Graph Coronavirus cases in Virginiain  March 2020Just as a reference again, 13 days after their first case NY had 525 cases.

Garden Work - daffodilsToday, I spent a lot of time working outside again. I went to the mulch pile & loaded up the car with 20-30 bags of mulch.  Then spent time working in the garden (but didn’t spread any mulch). I planted peas (I had soaked them in just a bit of water for a day or so, so they were sprouting) and did some weeding. There are lots of daffodils b/c this is a huge veggie garden (previous owners put it in) and I wanted some cheer in the spring.

Hubby and I went to Food Pantry Set Up Courtyard and chalk linesset up for the food pantry by making posters about the new procedures. We then went over to the church to make chalk lines that are all six feet apart. While we were there, someone came up to ask if the food pantry was open today.  I wish I had thought to offer him something to take home, but instead I just explained that the food pantry was on Tuesday morning. 🙁  Do you ever do that… kick yourself for something you *should* have done. Sigh… I just feel so bad.

While everyone else has been panic buying toilet paper, I guess I panic-bought bananas last week. We had so many that I had to make a batch of banana-blueberry muffins… twice this week!!

Banana Bread - with blueberries

Saturday, March 21

Today I spent a lot of time working outside in the garden & doing yard work. It feels good to unplug from the news cycles… and I think better for my state of mind. 🙂 I planted a bunch of spinach & also got some seedlings in.

Did a quick trip to Hobby Lobby to pick up something ED wanted for a craft. Shhh… don’t tell her, but I also picked up a couple of other things for her to work later; I’ve tucked them away in the closet.  I’m half assuming that soon only grocery stores will be open in our area too.  We have a lot of cases in our county and the one next to us where Hubby works.

The VA CV cases update: 154 cases. Locally, ten pharmacies, medical offices targeted in break-ins in the past 3 weeks.

Looking at the chart (below) and the quick spread of cases… it could be 1,000 by next weekend. Sure hope the chart is inaccurate for our area! NYC is sure having a rough time of it with titles like (“CV is killing more than one person an hour in NYC”; “FEMA declares NY a ‘Major Disaster’,” and “45 dead from coronavirus in NYC as statewide cases skyrocket to more than 10,000.” 🙁

Now you can see why I need to get away from the news cycle.

Tragic news about Uncle Frank’s wife. (This is a relative on Hubby’s side.) His wife has dementia.  She woke in the middle of the night, but Frank told her to go back to sleep.  He set the alarm for about 7am and when he woke up, Monica wasn’t there. He found the front door open, so he hopped in the car to go look for her.  Ahead were flashing lights and general hubbub… and unfortunately Monica had been struck by a car and killed.  So, so sad.

Friday, March 20

Last night the number of cases was at 97. This afternoon it’s up to 116. In the evening there were 124 cases. We have a really close friend who traveled to NJ and is suffering from flu-like symptoms. She said her chest hurts so much and it is like nothing she’s ever had before.  🙁  She is currently being tested for CV, but won’t know for another 3 or 4 days. Her Hubby was also experiencing symptoms.  We haven’t seen them for several weeks, but my daughter is really close friends with her daughter.

The grocery stores seem to be recovering a bit.  Here’s how it was a couple of days ago.  Milk & eggs were also completely gone, but I didn’t take a picture:

Empty Grocery Store Sections because of CoronavirusToday things were better (at least at the other grocery store we went to. They did have a sign limiting the number of items people could purchase.

Grocery Store Limits Friday March 20 2020Earlier this week several states said that schools will be closed for the rest of the year.  Though no decisions like that have been made here, I’m assuming that will be the case.

What worries me is the effects on the economy.  The state’s chief workforce advisor, said 16,357 people filed unemployment claims Thursday (yesterday) alone here in Virginia. That is more than double the total from Monday through Wednesday (14,000).  Holy cow!!

We have been spending quite a bit of time outside.  The girls and I have gone to a local park to do workouts.  We’re still doing T/F (DD and I have been doing that since Dec. but now ED wanted to join in; LD said he wants to do his CrossFit workout at home).  Anyway, we alternate running & walking a big loop and then do three sets of 3 exercises. Tuesday we did arm weights and today we did sit ups/push ups/planks (15 each and then 3 sets of those).  We were all tired!

Then as you see from the pictures above, we’re doing some gardening.  I think will do a booming business this year (since they send seeds/plants in the mail!)  I planted some broccoli plants (not from Burpee) as well as some blueberry plants from Burpee (to replace a couple that died). This weekend I need to plant the strawberry plants that came yesterday.

Spring 2020Every year when the forsythia bush is in full bloom, I take pictures of the kids.  I did that yesterday! 🙂

As for homeschooling, we are just in our normal groove. I’ll write more about that on the actual blog, but we’re reading There Eyes Were Watching God & studying the Korean War… the kids are still working on their research papers, plus doing math, music practice, science, etc.

The kids and I plan to help with the local food pantry run by our church.  Most of the volunteers are retired and they need younger people to help out.  We’ll be marking off lines every 6 feet to keep families safely apart. And on Monday we’ll help unload the food truck.

As for our family, we’ve been purchasing some food to donate and setting that aside. I wonder if I should ask the families in the girls’ GS troops to donate to help out.

My BIL just sent an email that there are gas lines in NY. I wonder why? Gas prices here are lower than they’ve been in ages? Maybe bc of the lockdown?

Tuesday, March 17

We’re back to homeschooling normally.  We’ve made just a couple minor changes… since the kids don’t have their regular sports now, we’ll be going to the park and doing some running & weight workouts. We did our first one today and it went well. (In fact, I’m pretty tired!)

I talked to my very close friend over in Hungary… she said that her boys are out of school too. So, I guess these measures are wide spread!!

News-wise – I’ve read a couple of articles that say to expect social distancing to be in effect for months. So, it sounds like things will remained shuttered and closed through the summer.  Makes me wonder if camps will be canceled too. 🙁  We look forward to Waldsee (the immersion camp the kids attend in Minnesota) all year long, so fingers crossed things are a bit better by June.

And the other thing I read is that Amazon will only accept goods in 6 categories (like household goods and medical supplies).  I bet some things will be harder to access as this all plays out.

I’m sure worried about the economy… and for families who have people out of work. I imagine things will be pretty hard. 🙁

Sunday, March 15

I had to run a quick errand at the grocery store to pick up rolls. Luckily the store’s bakery section had exactly what we needed because this was the bread aisle! It had been completely picked clean!

Grocery Store Empty Bread Aisle Sun March 15I also read this morning, that the UK said that every Briton over the age of 70 will be told “within the coming weeks” to stay at home for an extended period to shield them from coronavirus. (from the BBC) I’m going to call my folks to let them know.

Supermarkets have pleaded with customers both here, in the UK and elsewhere to be considerate and not buy more than they need amid continuing concerns about stockpiling.

I read this background about why things have been going so badly here in the US (in terms of preparedness & testing):

The Trump administration, with John Bolton newly at the helm of the White House National Security Council, began dismantling the team in charge of pandemic response, firing its leadership and disbanding the team in spring 2018.

The cuts, coupled with the administration’s repeated calls to cut the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies, made it clear that the Trump administration wasn’t prioritizing the federal government’s ability to respond to disease outbreaks.

That lack of attention to preparedness, experts say, helps explain why the Trump administration has botched its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump, for his part, has defended his record, arguing, “I’m a businessperson. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them. When we need them, we can get them back very quickly.”

But experts argue that’s not how pandemic preparedness should work. “You build a fire department ahead of time,” Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the Washington Post. “You don’t wait for a fire.”

And, Virginia has 45 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Sunday morning.

One man who lives nearby us, visited NYC from Feb. 28-March 1. He had flu-like symptoms & was given Tamiflu in an out-patient clinic, but several days later he spiked a fever of 104 and they took him to the hospital.  They weren’t able to get a test done for four days. Eventually, it came back positive. He’s age 44 and has 3 kids (ages 9,7 &6). He’s currently on a ventilator. 🙁  His wife hasn’t been able to see him; nurses held the phone to his ear so she could talk to him. So scary for his family.

Evening: Hubby just got an email… When he was at a meeting last Wednesday, he was with someone who is the primary caregiver for her mother-in-law.  Her mother-in-law was just admitted to the hospital and is currently being tested for the virus. About the only in-person thing we have left on the schedule is ED’s French horn lesson. I’m going to contact her teacher and have her do her lessons via Zoom.

Update Monday morning: This person’s MIL tested negative for the virus. That’s a relief!

Virginia CasesVirginia Cases compared to other states NY WA TX9 days after the first reported case in VA there were 45 cases throughout the state.

Sat. March 14

Three days ago (on Wednesday) there were 9 presumptive positive cases in VA.  Yesterday (Friday) there were 30 presumptive positive cases in VA. Today there are 41.

Earlier today NYC had its first death. I heard that both Louisiana and Virginia also had their first reported deaths this afternoon. According to one paper – “The patient (from central VA) acquired COVID-19 through an unknown source,” Virginia Department of Health (VDH) officials said.  Which means that this was community spread. 🙁

Saw this really interesting graphic: Days Since Hitting 100 Cases

COVID-19 Cases March 14, 2020They think that things in the US may spike faster than in Italy because little testing was done to track the virus (so community spread may be really bad by now).

Coronavirus cases in Italy rose by roughly 20 percent Saturday (today, March 14), as the already hard-hit country saw its biggest daily increase yet.

So, it took the US about 6 days to go from 100 cases to about 1000. (But we haven’t really been testing.) It’s taken Italy 12 or 13 days to go from 100 to 10,000+  … Going back in my notes, we (the US) hit 1000 cases on March 11th… so projecting out the line the US will be at 10,000+ by next Friday or Sat. March 20 or 21. I hope I’m wrong.

Remember, I had found a source about a week ago that had similar information for after 40 days: I found a source that said that 40 days after the outbreak Corona virus infected 37.6K people, SARS more than 3.9K, Swine Flu 312 and Ebola 242 illnesses.  That’s a crazy number of cases with this particular virus!!!

Another thing that I read today was that there is some concern about the food distribution lines for being able to supply the US with food if lots of workers get sick. It was a short article in the Washington Post, but it was implying that there could be food shortages.  It makes me keep racking my brains to see if we have what we need.  I’m pretty sure we do because I also have a good supply of flour/sugar/etc. so I can use the bread maker. But then, I still worry a little bit.  (And I also worry that I’m thinking about this too much.  … The same worries I had doing all that shopping 10 days ago, but now the stores shelves are being emptied.)

Mr. M (Soccer) was supposed to go on a business trip to Australia today, but he canceled it.  He wasn’t worried about the trip over there, but wondered if he’d be able to get back. But then this afternoon, we heard that there is talk of domestic travel being restricted, so it seems like that was a good idea.

I worry a little about Cynthia being able to get back since she left on Thursday morning for a conference in Utah (that hadn’t been canceled yet). She’s then going to spend a week hiking/camping at Zion (despite the cold temperatures! She’s tough!!)  Hope Cynthia can get back home.

UK & Ireland have also been added to the travel ban.

There’s still a lot of worry that there will not be enough hospital beds as the number of cases increase… Surge in coronavirus patients threatens to swamp U.S. hospitals says one headline –Hospitals across the United States are erecting triage tents outside emergency rooms, squeezing extra beds into break rooms and physical therapy gyms, and recommending delays in elective surgery to free up capacity as they brace for an anticipated surge in coronavirus patients.

Testing for the virus – I read an article that was explaining why there is so little testing going on… labs are short of the various materials needed (viral transport media … or specific machines that detect COVID-19 RNA). Scary thing was that they said they are expecting the necessary material hopefully by the end of the month or mid-April!! So much can happen in two weeks while limited tests are being done (remember Italy was at 10,000+ in 12 or 13 days)!
“The testing failure is putting additional strain on our already challenged health system,” Cynthia Cox, director of the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, said. “The combination of all of these factors will make the US worse off than similar countries.”
COVID-19 testing
And this from twitter about the US’s ability to test:
Covid Testing Ability

Fri. March 13

Schools where we live in Virginia have been officially closed from March 14 through April 14: __ County Public Schools will close to students effective Saturday, March 14, until April 14, due to the growing health concern caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus). This closure may be extended depending on the situation.

Interesting chart from

ED and I stopped by the local Harris Teeter to pick up a couple of things we needed for dinner.  I was curious about the run on the stores. This was our toilet paper aisle at the grocery store:

Grocery Store TP aisle HSDThat didn’t surprise me because on Thursday, evening (the day before) I stopped by BJs quickly to get some butter (to have on hand if we do any baking and stuff). The lines were what I thought was crazy… They extended all the way to the back of the store. Then today (Saturday) there were people in lines that extended out the door (and more) at various stores like Costco.

Apparently the travel ban to Europe goes into effect this evening.  I’ve read that a lot of people were panicked and worried, but luckily there’s no one I know who was personally effected by this. It must feel stressful and chaotic for those caught up in travels at the moment. I’m glad my niece is back from Germany.

This afternoon and evening there were tons and tons of emails as one by one all the kids’ activities came grinding to a halt.. scouts, sports, band rehearsals, choir, etc. The conference I was going to next week was obviously canceled as well.

Oh, and officially this is now officially a National Emergency (which from what I gather frees up funds.)

Testing – I read an article that was explaining why there is so little testing going on… labs are short of the various materials needed (viral transport media … or specific machines that detect COVID-19 RNA).  Scary thing was that they said they are expecting the necessary material hopefully by the end of the month or mid-April!!  So much can happen in two weeks while limited tests are being done!

Wed. March 11

As I came home from choir, I heard about Trump’s travel ban to Europe. The day before Cynthia said she had had to cancel her travel/research plans to Europe in April. The library archive she was planning to go to was closed. I guess it was inevitable that her trip was cancelled.

I wonder if DD’s trip to Romania in July will even be possible. (She was one of 15 teens from around the US to go to Transylvania this summer and meet up with other Hungarian/Romanian teens for an exchange.) It’s hard to see that far into the future.

Jan-March 2020 Summary

I’m a big news-reader, so I was keeping tabs on the growing epidemic in China. By the beginning of March, I was texting Auntie Cynthia a couple of times a day.  Cynthia had a number of virologists that she was following on Twitter and other places. In particular @HelenBranswell on Twitter had a lot of useful (and alarming) information she was sharing (but that wasn’t really out in the mainstream media in Feb.).

For example, back on March 4, she shared that the COVID-19 virus was likely in the Seattle area for 6-weeks.  And someone else shared that — the U.S. would need 3.5B N95 respirator masks in most severe situation; currently has 10% of what’s needed. Now this all seems common-knowledge, but it was slow to “get out.”

Cynthia and I talked a lot about how there was very little testing for the virus and scientists were alarmed at the lack of testing.  Then a day or so later, it came out that the tests were faulty.

Cynthia and I both decided we should make sure we had things on hand because scientists on twitter were saying how terribly bad things were going to get.

On March 3, Cyn shared her “shopping list

Kleenex, TP, cough syrup, ibuprofen, cough drops, thermometers, bar soap & liquid soap, wet ones or lens clear for cleaning the cell phones, sanitary pad liners for coughing (or sit-on pads), extra prep food, easy-cook foods like soup, pseudophed (not sure of the spelling), garbage bags, … and frozen foods like chicken & frozen veggies as well as just a general 2-week supply of food. I also added in long-life milk (like kids’ boxed milk that would stay good if people started to panic-shop like the do before a blizzard).

I did a whole bunch of shopping over the next few days & tried to make sure we had most everything Cynthia suggested. I was worried because I saw news reports on ABC (the Australian news app) about people fighting (literally) over toilet paper!  At first, this was mocked by people here, but then there have been videos and new reports of this very same thing happening in the last 24 hours (it being March 14 while I’m writing this) of this happening locally!

I kind of kept mum about it (my shopping trips) because it seemed like a lot of people were saying things were being exaggerated.  I didn’t want to look like a crazy prepper or anything. But, with everything Cynthia and I were talking/texting about it just seemed important to be prepared… more because I was worried there’d be runs on the store if people realized how bad things could get. (And schools & stuff started shutting down like in Italy and elsewhere.)

By March 5, COVID 19 was in middle TN… plus Cynthia knew of a case at Vanderbilt (where she works high in the admin.)

On March 6, Cyn sent me a tweet that said that the Atlantic contacted all 50 states’ health departments to reconstruct the number of presumptive positive cases and found that 1,895 had been tested but by that time in the UK 20,000 had been tested!!

March 7 – On March 7th, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Virginia, a U.S. Marine at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital tested positive for COVID-19.

March 9 – Virginia’s 3rd COVID-19 case. The second case was in Fairfax; someone who had traveled overseas… I think on a Nile River cruise.

By March 10, lots of universities were going virtual including Princeton University, Rutgers.

March 11 – On March 11th, the United States now has more than 1,000 people infected with coronavirus… but of course there hasn’t been much testing. Also on March 11th, the Virginia Department of Health and the U.S. Navy say there are now nine “presumptive positive” cases.

March 12 – On March 12th, the City of Alexandria in Northern Virginia has confirmed its first case of COVID-19. This makes 11 cases in Virginia. The patient is a member of the Christ Church in Georgetown where the rector has Coronavirus. … As I recall there were several people connected with this church who tested positive for the virus in the next day or so.

Hubby said that one of his co-workers out in CO bought a freezer, but that stores out there were running out of meat. (Which made me glad I had bought some frozen chicken breasts and stuff…)

In other news, I found a source that said that 40 days after the outbreak Corona virus infected 37.6K people, SARS more than 3.9K, Swine Flu 312 and Ebola 242 illnesses.  That’s a crazy number of cases with this particular virus!!!

And now… I’m more or less up to yesterday, so March 13 will be its own entry above.