Today we entered the third week of sheltering in place. It is also what should have been the last day of President Donald Trump’s “15 Days to Slow the Spread” initiative. The reason for the 15 days was to give authorities time to collect data about what the country should do. After looking at the data and the models, Trump announced that the 15 days would be extended to the end of April. With approximately four weeks in April, this means that we will be sheltering in place for six weeks.
I should not complain about hunkering down because I have an easy time of doing it. My husband and I are retired, and our home does not have a mortgage on it. Our finances are secure unless the State of Alaska goes bankrupt. Our children do our grocery shopping and run our errands. Ours is an easy life!
We have stayed at home even though we know that we are free to walk or go for drives with the only stipulation being to avoid other people. With the increasing sunshine and the melting snow, we will most likely start venturing out of the house soon. Our lives are saddened with the death of my husband’s brother on Saturday. The death of a beloved brother is always difficult, but this one has been more difficult because we could not go see him before he died or attend his graveside services.
The emotions of knowing that a brother was dying and waiting for that awful telephone phone call have worn on us. In addition, the tension caused by the pandemic and the skyrocketing numbers of new cases and numbers of death have only added to the emotional toll. In today’s announcement, Alaska added 12 new cases and 1 death, bring a total of 119 cumulative cases, 3 deaths, and 0 recoveries. These numbers pale beside that of the nation (163,479 cases, 3,146 deaths, and 5,604 recoveries) and the world (786,228 cases, 37,820 deaths, and 166, 041 recoveries).
Trump expects the United States’ numbers to peak about the middle of April. He said that it is possible that as many as 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die of this coronavirus. Millions of people are out of work, but the stock market is back up almost to where it was before the coronavirus hit the U.S. Trump wants to get the nation opened soon to avoid a repression or depression.
Missionaries have been called home from foreign missions. Many of them will be released or have their missions shortened. Others will be reassigned after they go through a 14-day self-quarantine. The temples are all closed worldwide. General Conference next weekend will be by technology only. Yesterday was the third Sunday that Church meetings were cancelled worldwide.
This is a whole new world for all of us except for the very oldest among us who were born during World War I and/or the Spanish flu pandemic, went through the Great Depression, World War II, and the 1957 pandemic. Most of us do not know what to expect, and the level of fear is high. Yesterday was a worldwide day of fasting and prayer for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and all who joined with them. We hope and pray that this pandemic ends soon, and we can get back to life as usual – or as normal as it can be.