It's a strange time to be alive. Today the first case of COVID-19 was reported in my town. Things had already ground to a virtual halt, and it's not clear what next steps are. We don't know enough about the disease - we don't even know where it is, since the US medical system is so woefully unprepared for something like this. Testing is supposed to be ramping up, and we expect this means the number of cases will explode. I've been lucky, being surrounded by experts, but it's been clear that a lot of panic has occurred in the wider world. Stocks are off around 25%, and it's not clear that investors' panic is unjustified - an economic halt is a pretty big deal - estimates I've heard suggest that a dip similar to the 2008 crisis is a conservative estimate. The irony, of course, is that the more seriously we take it, the more we will mitigate the effects of the disease, and thus the more people will say (are already saying) we overreacted.
In the meantime, we're all practicing 'social distancing' and trying to work out how interactions should occur, if at all. There's been a lack of leadership from some of the traditional places (the presidency, but also the local churches are walking a fine line with their conservative members) and I'm going to try to see if the local group I run can step into that breach. I will say that so many people having time off has led to some interesting social effects - the walking trail I use to get home was packed today!