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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

So day one of the covid-19 pandemic is on the books!

Man, things escalated quickly. Today in Poland they announced that public gathering places like movie theatres, museums etc were to close and later in the day also announced that all schools and daycares are to be closed as of Monday, March 16th for at least two weeks. They asked everyone to treat it as a self-quarantine and not leave the house unless necessary. Since this means the kids will be home during this time, I'll probably be walking the dog a LOT just to get out of the house! Luckily my nanny will around to help. And luckily my oldest son's school is fairly well prepared with a virtual learning system, which hopefully means he won't miss any school. But in the meantime I'm going to have to rely on my other babysitters, aka Netflix and Disney +, to step in. I may also renew the Xbox live account (we cancelled it earlier because I was sick of the fights over the Xbox).

There are also rumours that all big stores - including grocery - will be closed as of Monday as well so I decided to pop into a shop this afternoon to grab some milk (that I was just normally low on) and pick up a few things. I'm glad I went when I did because some things were already low/gone (like chicken and most canned goods) and I can imagine how much worse they will look. My nanny came with me to the shop and in spite of me pleading for her not to panic and just be reasonable with what we should be buying, she agreed but at the same time was throwing in extra packages of butter and bars of soap and bulgar wheat into the trolley. I wanted to laugh. She also grabbed the last package of toilet paper even though I reminded her that we have a bidet in the house and can easily get by without it. Sigh.

My university is completely closed until March 29th, but they also told us not to leave Poland because when courses resume, if we had decided to leave the country, we will face mandatory quarantine upon return and if that results in us missing school that is already in session, we will not be able to make it up. Which honestly I think is totally fair even though I had been toying with the idea of taking the fam to Canada for a few weeks, it really doesn't make sense during a lock-down to do this type of travelling. It's irresponsible and totally unnecessary. From my end, I plan on following the rules and staying home as much as possible.

There is also talk of how we are going to make up the time. Either it will be cancelling our Easter holiday and our week off in May and/or continue classes in to July. It would suck but I'm at a point now where I'm just not caring about any of it. I'm going to accept whatever they throw at us and take it in stride because I feel like it will just be a more pleasant - or at least more bearable - experience.

Plus I really don't want to get upset because of the effect on my kids. I can tell my middle son is feeling anxious about it all. He is upset that he can't go to soccer. He's upset because I told him he may not have his birthday party in April (based on the chats I've had with some parents, they won't be coming). Today he started to cry hysterically over my older son's phone cover (seriously). He asked me what the end of the world looks like and if this is it. I should have a word with his teachers to see what on earth they've been saying to the kids.

But frankly what I'm most worried about is Poland's ability (or rather, inability) to handle this crisis. As one of the highest doctor to patient ratios in the EU and some of the lowest percentage of GDP on health care spending in the EU, they are going to hit their capacity really quickly. The average age of doctors in Warsaw is over 50 and average age of nurses is over 55. So basically the highest risk group of people are also the front line. I've already heard one ER got shut down because the doctor tested positive for covid-19 and as it is, that they are sending people with mild symptoms home without even testing them. I'm itching to get in and help and I really hope I get the opportunity.

I'm curious to see how the next few weeks unfold. Like I said to some of my friends today, I'm sure we will all have stories about the mad coronavirus pandemic to tell our grandchildren!

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