The last 2 days of February 2020 I was in Boston, attending Pax East. No one wore masks, let alone social distanced, but there was hand sanitizer everywhere. Reminders not to touch your face, too. Meanwhile 1.25 miles away people were licking the doorknobs at Bio-gen’s meeting (but seriously, how did almost everyone get it there but no cases were traced back to our conference of 50k people?)
The first night we watched the news in our hotel room for some reason and saw the very first report of toilet paper hoarding in some distant land outside of North America. This made me order a 36 roll set from Amazon. I would soon wish I had added counter wipes and hand sanitizer.
We went back to work and our planning meetings for our annual conference in May took on an increasingly nervous tone. So very nervous. We looked into how to back out without losing 100k by breaking the contract.
That week the university announced that we would be allowed to work from home if we were concerned about covid, as long as a manager approved.
By March 11th we canceled the conference, contract be damned. I worried that the loss might get a coworker or two laid off. Our operations manager took it upon himself to complete work from home requests for our whole team, in case things got worse. A bunch of people’s last day in the office was the 13th.
The same friend I’d gone to Pax with and I, and her sister, had tickets for the live show of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast on Friday the 13th. We worried a lot about that too - would it be canceled? Should we skip it? There were a few cases in our state, but none in our county. We went.
The next morning the theater canceled everything for months.
The day after that parents were given less than a day’s notice that kids would be remote schooling for a few weeks.
The operations manager, my officemate, and I went into the office at 8am on the 16th. They had a meeting and I was recording a lecture. By 1pm we were informed that you may work from home if you are concerned was now you must work from home beginning tomorrow morning.
I ended the day early, wondering where on earth I could set up the desktop and two monitors I had just lugged out to the car. Apparently I convinced a friend from another department that it would be a really good idea if she brought her monitor home, not just her laptop, because I suspected it was going to drag on longer than a couple of weeks. Maybe until the end of the semester, even. She took my advice, which I promptly forgot giving until she mentioned it a couple of months ago.
Two years to flattened the curve