The news from China and Iran and Italy as the COVID-19 pandemic developed over the past few weeks has been unnerving. The stream of propaganda, lies, and bullshit from the White House has disturbed me even more. The President of the United States can't be trusted to tell the truth about the smallest of things and clearly doesn't give a damn about the welfare of anyone else. We're up shit creek and one of America's worst people, a man who you wouldn't trust to feed your cat while you're on vacation, is holding the paddle.
My Mapbox teammates are in Washington D.C. and San Francisco and started working from home last week. The team has been semi-distributed for years and so we're not missing a beat. There's definitely some anxiety at work. Social conscience is a common characteristic of Mapbox employees, so this is primarily anxiety about others and society at large. Working from home is recognized as a privilege not afforded so much by management, but by the industry and by social class. It's the least a privileged tech worker can do, and we're all doing it.
In Fort Collins, we've been waiting for more than a week for local institutions to make their moves, and they finally have. Colorado State University has closed its classrooms and will go entirely online. Poudre School District cancelled sports and trips and then announced school closure through March 29. Colorado Governor Jared Polis has published an executive order declaring a state of disaster emergency. The National Guard has been activated and Colorado is going to help with paid leave for people in certain industries. On Friday, Gov. Polis announced a strong recommendation that events larger than 250 people be cancelled. I'm not sure whether this constitutes a ban or not. Maybe it will become one. Today I read in the Denver Post that Polis asked Colorado ski areas to close for a week. A few had already done so after finding sick employees.
My family isn't shutting itself in quite yet. The kids were in school on Friday. Ruth went to a mostly empty gym this morning. I went to the food co-op for some staples, to the feed store to get a bag of grain for our hens (there's little wild stuff to eat yet), and will go out running again this afternoon. However, we're ready to stay in more and flatten the curve if needed. It may well be. I don't think we can remind each other enough that doing the right thing in this crisis isn't going to be self-rewarding for most of us. It's not going to be like going to down to a storm cellar during a tornado and coming out to see that you would have otherwise been torn up like your house and car. The lives we're going to save are across town, in other homes, people we don't even know. I hope that by now you've read Zeynep Tufekci's article (linked above) or something like it. My oldest is developing an interest in sociology, and I loved being able to point out Tufekci's work as an example of what a modern sociologist does.
Right in the middle of all of this, I have a cold. Probably the one my youngest and her school friends had a week ago. Just sniffles and a mild headache, but it's no fun.
Next week I'll be working from home, listening to NPR on KUNC, and avoiding rumors and anxiety on the hell site. The kids will be here. Ruth might close her lab and work from home as well. Wash your hands and stay safe, everybody!