New Jersey schools were closed on Friday, March 13, 2020 by the health department to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Parking lots of local restaurants are nearly empty and the restaurants are posting handwritten signs letting us know takeout and curbside delivery are available. I’ve been to the grocery store arriving before 7 A.M to avoid a crowd. I had secured a grocery delivery for tomorrow a week ago, but was notified yesterday that all deliveries have been canceled due to product shortages. I’ve been engaged in remote learning for my students all week. Nothing is normal.
As of this morning, there are 19,775 infections and 276 deaths in the United States. Wasn’t it like a week ago, there were only 15 U.S. cases? There are currently 890 infections and 11 deaths just in New Jersey. There are currently 47,000 infections and 4,000 deaths in Italy. This is important because we are only a few weeks behind and on the same trajectory. Social distancing is our only fight as there is no vaccine nor treatment. And, its the only way to prevent a healthcare crisis as hospitals are running out of beds and safety equipment for healthcare workers. Non-essential workers are being furloughed and told to stay home many or most without pay. This is creating a second crisis, a financial crisis. Claims for unemployment insurance are skyrocketing nationally. The Stockmarket had its worst week since maybe the 1930s.
Some suggest that this social distancing could be required through August and might have to be reinstated beginning around Christmas through January and February. We’re 12-18 months away from a vaccine. So maybe summer 2021, life can begin to return to normal. But, we might be changed forever, just like our parents and grandparents were forever changed by living through the great depression. Stay strong and follow all the precautions as we need to get through this together.