The #coronageddon Diary

“Life as we know it is about to come to a halt, so let’s see how things are in May”, I told my daughter, when she was once again asking about our plans to visit Tallinn for a weekend in May. At that point Corona was still a very remote thing for us here. Not for long though. A few days went past and I was already telling her there won’t be any dance classes, or even going to school. 

This is not a diary of being sick with corona, at least not yet (as I start the diary). Just some notes about my life during the 2020 #coronageddon [Corona epidemic] in Finland. 

Blog posts about Corona can be found under the category #coronageddon – some in English, some in Finnish.

Day 2 – Sat March 14

At this point, even though W.H.O. has declared it a pandemic, it has not even been declared an epidemic in Finland, though I expect that to happen within the next few days.

We are approximately a week behind our neighboring countries Sweden and Norway (who knows about Russia), though infection rate has been more rapid these past few days. Approximately 70 known new cases today, accross the country, though most here in southern Finland. Only two hospital districts out of our 20 districts don’t have any known cases yet. Way out there in the countryside. It would be a good place to live now…

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Image source: Helsingin Sanomat article https://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006439381.html

A little recap of said days.

Wed March 11 the amount known COVID-19 cases in Finland was around 50. I had self-quarantined myself due to a stomach flu, not fear of Corona. At that point, I didn’t yet feel the need to avoid anything. Things still felt safe.

Day 0 – Thu March 12 – It started to become quite obvious that we are here moving towards the epidemic phase with incresing speed. 50 new cases were reported during that one day, doubling the amount of Corona patients, one of them being a surgeon in our biggest hospital.

Our government held a press conference issuing recommendations such as cancelling or postponing all gatherings of 500+ attendees, and that people and especially those belonging to risk groups should avoid social contacts and any unnecessary activities like sports and other such hobbies. A lot more too, but those were the main take-aways for a regular Jane like me. Schools were declared to stay open still, except for those that had already had some Corona going on.

Within an hour, while I was still contemplating whether or not it was ok for my daughter to go to dance class in the evening, the messages started. Dance school closed. Gyms closing their doors. Sports events cancelled or playing to empty halls. Concerts and all sorts of events cancelled. Theaters closing their doors. And so forth.

Then my rock-solid husband notified me that he has ordered his whole team home remote working for at least two weeks and is going “corona-shopping”*. At that point things started hitting home:

  • My son works in the hospital where the surgeon with corona also works
  • I belong to the risk group with my asthma
  • My son belongs to the risk group with his asthma
  • My daughter belongs to the risk group with her excercise-induced asthma (which causes respiratory issues in normal colds and flu just the same as regular asthma)
  • My dad belongs to the risk group, being over 70 and having some heart issues

That pretty much sums it up. My husband is the mountain goat, especially since he’s not been smoking anymore for a couple years. The rest of us, well. Suddenly my instinct told me to gather my family up into our house and lock the doors and windows so that nobody can get in or out until this shit is over. This very biblical scene of jews in Egypt huddling in their houses as death moves around collecting first-borns hit my mind. I felt like painting a protective mark on the door with lamb blood, or something.

Day 1 – Fri March 13 – 60 new COVID-19 cases in Finland, 48 of them right here in our hospital destrict of Helsinki and Uusimaa. And then they stopped testing everyone.

I stayed home like I had for the whole week since that stomach flu hit me on Monday evening. Now there were two reasons – I still was not sure I was entirely well, and I already felt that I need to protect myself, protect my kid (the one still living with us; as for my son, he’s on his own and my heart bleeds), so daughter stayed home from school too, and will next week too.

City of Helsinki declared the cancellation of all events with 100+ attendees. City workers are adviced to stay home to remote work. But: schools will stay open. I say, what?! I started to try and get my Monday training cancelled, but apparently I will need to go the customer premises for it, but with any luck, all participants will be attending via Teams.

We had our monthly meeting at work and the stock-holder meeting as well – all via Teams. My headphones have started to require daily charging, due to remote working, remote meeting. At least I can do it. A lot of people can’t. You work at a hospital, you go there to do your work. You drive the bus, you drive the bus in the bus, not on home sofa. I worry about my son. Nothing much I can do to help, other than give some advice, and hope for the best. Yes, I am scared. Staying calm, but scared all the same.

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Selling toilet paper, €10 per roll. In Espoo, Finland. From Facebook

*) About that Corona Shopping. Yes, people got a bit crazy flooding the stores, many of them probably going a bit overboard, which is totally understandable too. My husband mainly had one goal: to make sure we have the basic supplies of our household stocked now (not at the end of the month, like usually) and enough basic food to allow us to

1) avoid the biggest crowds of the beginning of the epidemic time and
2) to ensure that we don’t need to be going to the store constantly.

The only thing unusual about his shopping was the timing. I’ll tell you, when our three kids were teens and living with us, we brought home more food than this twice a month…

This just to say that being prepared and able to avoid stores as much as possible is a worthy goal. Hoarding toilet paper and selling it for 10€ a roll in Facebook, not so much. 

Day 3 – Sun March 15

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Sunday is my orchid watering day <3

We’re having a wind storm in Finland too, today, so our planned car repair gig to change the battery in my dad’s car got postponed. Also, despite the sunshine, I have no desire to go out to be blown away by the wind. Other than dog walks, that is.

Still waiting for the city to be smart and close the schools, but in the meantime I sent a message to my daughters teacher informing her that my kid will not be attending school for some time, so pleasde provide her the school work to do remotely. Many highschools are switching to remote schooling anyway; they have the technology, it’s all about willingness.

I also made the decicion that at this point I will not take the risk and go to the customer premises to do the training scheduled for tomorrow. Customer agreed to cancel the training as it cannot be done fully remotely – not that they really had a choice in the matter.

Day 4 – Mon Match 16

8:30I don’t think they still have declared this an epidemic, at least not in all of Finland, but it’s only semantics. They’re not even testing everyone, how could they understand infection chains anymore? There’s also now the first Finnish Corona patient needing intesive care.

As usual, first thing in the morning I did a news and Facebook feed scan. Some articles and discussions triggered a few thoughts about responsibility, rationality, restrictions, and recommendations:

  • Responsibility: it is so hard, especially for a country full of people who are used to doing exactly as they are told, where the government has treated people like brainless idiots who need mama for every decicion. “If something ain’t forbidden, it must be ok, nevermind how stupid it seems.”
  • Rationality: it is not only for your own good that you should avoid social contacts, it’s for the good of everyone. You may not fear for yourself, you may believe (and even be right about it) that Corona won’t be worse than regular flu for you – but what about all the people you infect before you even know you’re infected yourself? Not everyone who want to isolate themselves, can do it.
  • Recommendations: at least in Finland (and I believe it’s the same elsewhere too), most restrictions require the state of emergency and that is a drastic move no government will want to do hastily. Still, they could an in my opinion should close down the Uusimaa or at least Helsinki area, where the virus is currently spreading most rapidly
  • Restrictions (and said recommendations):
    1) they are not there to make life harder
    2) you are allowed to restrict yourself further (well, school is an exception for under 16 year olds or so)
    3) they are there to help individuals take responsibility – they ensure that a person can restrict their own life without consequences by binding the companies – and obviously serve as safety net for those unable to make decicions on their own

Now that said, I repeat myself: obviously no everyone can stay home for days and weeks. Thos who can, should, though. Not only for their own good (if you are don’t care about yourself, why should I?), but for the good of those who need to be out and about, even if they’re in a risk group, even if they really would like to isolate.

Of course, government(s) probably SHOULD be doing a whole lot more. While they’re being a bit careful – to help economy stay up, I believe, for they do try to balance everything, be it for better or for worse – people can still make choices.

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Chicken salad for lunch

15:00 – In the meanwhile in our household. We are all at home, driving each other crazy already (or it might be just me…). We will either create a routine around and with each other, or maybe end up killing each other. Husband working, I’m about to, daughter doesn’t have remote school work available yet. Husband did another store run, swearing he won’t go again this week. Home deliveries and pick-up times for stores are clogged, so he decided to go get a few more essentials.

For me, remote working is just business as usual. Even before any special reasons, I used to do a lot of remote work from home, as did most of my colleagues. Of course, we all went to the office every now and then; out of our almost 100 employees in Helsinki, approximately 1/3 is at the office normally. Today, there were maybe two people. In order to maintain some social contact with each other, a colleague of mine established virtual coffee break for the afternoon. It’s cool, especially since this way we get all of our offices – Helsinki, Kuopio and Dubai – together in the same “coffee room”.

My daughter’s school is practising Google meetings for virtual school. Some students were in school but it seems to me, a whole lot were not. I had bought a bluetooth headset for D for birthday – she’s turning 17 in two weeks – and decided it was time for an early birthday present. Apparently, schools will close all over Finland today – at least that’s the rumor currently – waiting for the government press conf in an hour, until then it’s only that, a rumor.

17:30 – And there it came. Finland is rapidly moving to a state of emergency, probably by Wednesday Schools close (mostly), restaurants, bars, museums, libraries, all public places are closed, travel is forbidden, government is getting ready to close borders, gatherings of 10+ people are forbidden, and all that.

As much as I was anticipating and even hoping for it, the announcement gave me chills. Tears gathered behind my eyes from the understanding that our life is changing forever. Obviously this will not last forever, but when we emerge on the other side, country by country, our world is not the same it was before Corona.

Day 5 – Tue March 17

10:00 – Woke up to a new world order. The sun is shining and the forest beyond our windows is as peaceful as always. Birds are chirping and spring is making the world brighter every day. Here in my library I might think everything is the same as it was yesterday and the day before and…  and yet nothing is the same.

Country after country is closing their borders. People are huddled in their homes, remote working, remote studying, worried about their loved ones, worried about themselves. Those who need to go out, need to work – nurses, doctors, the police, supermarket workers… – they do so with a dread, hoping their safety measures are enough, readying themselves to face the virus. Of course there’s still people who laugh at your dangers, ho! ho! ho! like little Simba. Hyenas just may or may not answer the laughter, but I hope they don’t endanger others than themselves.

How long will this last? One month? Three months? A year? Scientists are busy concocting a vaccination, but is it safe? Remember what happened with the pig flu vacc. What will the world be like in a few months? How many businesses are gone? How long will it take to rebuild? What will be rebuilt? How lasting are the effects?

Right now there are only questions and life day by day in confined circumstances. However, we still have movies, books, dog walks, forests (for those not living in the center of a city), video calls… We just need to make the best out of what we have.

iflifegiveslemons

21:00 – Even with the lesser testing our new known COVID-19 cases are on the same daily level as the day before they stopped testing everyone. Our tangential curve just kinda started all over again. One can only guess how many cases there really are. THL estimates 20-30 times the official 322 (next morning it was only 317, stats for March 17 having been updated to 40 instead of the 45 still visible in the chart below).

coronachart
Original image: Helsingin Sanomat March 17 (https://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006440845.html)

Government gave another press conference in the afternoon. Nothing new this time really, just more details about closing the borders and schools and stuffs. Martial law should be in force tomorrow; our parliaments was supposed to pass it already today, but things like this are slower than that. However, society is ramping down as people settle into their quarantines.

I noticed a funny change in my behavior today: even while being at home, I have stopped touching my eyes – with the pollen season they itch – or face otherwise with my hands, and use my wrist/sleeve instead to rub them slightly when needed.

Day 6 – Wed March 18

Might be day 1 of state of emergency lock-down, but damn, I’ve been home for over a week already, D and H for almost a week too! We’re still getting on each other’s nerves during the days, for I’m the only one with a remote working routine and rhythm, whereas H is trying to establish some sort of mutual lunches (I don’t usually do those even at the office, I have an oddish rhythm) and D has no remote school routine yet whatsoever.

“Mom, you so won’t make it through this!” D declared today, apparently seeing the smoke raising from my ears again.

She would need more attention and help from me in getting this remote school stuff going than I’ve been able to give during my work days. I simply haven’t had the time to read all the messages and instructions from school, nor make a remote school schedule with D yet. She gets bored and unable to concentrate and then comes to harrass me since I’m “available”, in a space without a door.

I have been a bit overloaded working long hours lately – mostly nothing to do with Corona – and trying to keep on top of this epidemic stuff, reading the news and watching the press conferences. I’m worried and stressed, so yes, I’ve been a bit on the edge here.

You know the first thing I’ll do when this lock-down is over for me? I’ll go to the hair dresser. Hope she stays in business through all this! My hair’s overgrown already; I should’ve gotten my hair done before this shit hit the fan here, but it just all happened so fast! Like going from “oh, it’s a distant threat” to “oh my god, it’s the coronageddon!” in on day or so.

So far in Finland we have 360 or so confirmed COVID-19 patients, three of them hospitalized in ICU. The numbers in eg. France, Italy and Spain are alarming, Hundreds dying per day in Italy alone.

Day 7 – Thu March 19

What to do when your 70+ dad has issues with FB Messenger on his tablet? It’s his only device with a camera and thus capability for video calls. Yesterday evening I tried to help him over the phone, but it’s quite difficult – even more so as he gets more and more exasparated. If I could fiddle with it for a while, I’d probably get the stuff working again, but walking my dad through all sorts of hoops and loops of trial and error while flying blind-folded myself is quite the strain. What a time for his tablet to fail!

Last night I had a dream I was at the office with my colleagues, going for a smoke with my pals, all that. I guess I’m missing the social interaction a bit… I haven’t even smoked for more than a week – not that that’s bad at all. Smoking is mostly a social thing for me, in addition to being an anxiety remedy. It seems that no matter what the stress levels have been here recently, anxiety levels haven’t been too bad.

Martial law is still not fully in power, for the process of accepting the government’s propositions in the parliament is sloooow. Oh well. Most of the stuff that concerns regular people didn’t need it anyway, so our state of emergency restrictions are in effect and have been since yesterday. Just waiting for curfews and enforced quarantines here.. Especially after the flock of idiots crowded the opening of a new supermarket here in Helsinki [insert eyeroll here].

crowd
People flocking to the entrance of a new Prisma in Herttoniemi (source: Hesari article)

D got a burst of energy and decided that she and I should start doing some workouts daily now that we don’t have dance classes. I’ll have to say it’s not a half bad idea! Now we both have a “workouts for women” app on our phones and started doing them today. Once on my lunch break, another after my workday. I’ll be so fit when all this is over!

Check out D’s day in Youtube (feat. mama and the doggos)!

Day 8 – Fri March 20

TGIF! Don’t know ’bout others, but this stuff definitely hasn’t lightened my workload! People talk about getting bored; I really could use some being-bored-time. I have all them books, some Netflix series, there’s the video dance classes and there’s even the 7 day free trial for Broadway shows – but I don’t have any more time for any of it than ever! Waiting for my one week holiday aroung Easter.

This morning I was in a workshop, planning the intranet of a customer, while monitoring D doing her math test online. She had music playing in her headphones, so she wasn’t bothered by my intranet jadajada. Once she had a network emergency, so we took a break from the workshop while I helped her fix the Internet connection. One of the customers retorted: “A lot of parents have been forced to play IT support this week.” Yup. I just wonder about those families, where the kid is the tech-savviest one while not so savvy either. It’s all easy-breezy for the kids of techies.

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Out with D and dogs in the late afternoon. Days are getting longer and the sun is out :) Nice weather for longer walks, if a bit cold still.

Around noon we got our first weekly food delivery from a local K-market. H has made sure we have a Friday delivery every week – usually he does the Friday shoppings. Our fridge is full of greens (and reds ;) ) now: bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. More than normal. He’s making sure we have the ingredients to make “SubWay salads” at home for lunch during the week, since he can’t go to the SubWay to get the salads now.

My son called me in the afternoon, a rare pleasure for mama. He’s doing good, all’s calm (well, calm Corona-wize) in the part of the hospital where he works in maintenance. He isn’t too worried and anyway, he needs to do what he needs to do. Was good to hear his voice!

Day 9 – Sat March 21

9:30 – Woke up to a sunny morning again. It’s spring time here despite having no winter to shout about. The death toll worldwide has climbed to 11 000 or so, Spain becoming the third country with over a thousand Corona deaths already. China seems to be doing quite ok, while deaths in Europe are ramping up.

Here in Finland most cases are around Helsinki, making people elsewhere feel like the government is exaggerating with all these restrictions. Ski centers in Lapland have been open so far, but they will be closed down during this upcoming week too. Those places have become the second most Corona ridden places in the country, people returning to their homes and carrying it with them, just like from Tirol. Need to learn something, really! A bunch of doctors are now quarantined and out of the work force for a while for attending a conference in Levi earlier this month.

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People have remembered that Corona is not only a virus and beer. I remembered this photo of me after winning a game of Corona, back in 1988 when I was 13yo.

17:00 – First Corona death in Finland. It was inevitable, obviously, but somehow it still struck me. Also, they have found more Corona cases in the children’s hospital – about half the staff is now quarantined. What about those little patients there?! This whole thing is really making me wonder: why did our officials wait for so long before reacting to this properly? Why didn’t even our hospital officials take it more seriously and understand that if it’s out there, it’s also here? How much worse will this get before it gets better?

THL – our health security organization – is for sure partly to blame. The director there still doesn’t even believe in the recommendations and predictions of W.H.O. So much smarter than the rest, is he now? And then the people, those idiots who still crowd to bars and supermarket openings and after skis and… How long will it be before we have full curfew here? How long will our government just monitor? I think they’ve done quite a good job after they finally woke up – it’s not exactly their fault that the experts in this country seem to be clueless.

Our amount of new cases officially tested and found daily is back to the level it was before they stopped testing everyone (one of the things W.H.O. criticizes heavily but the THL dudes don’t believe in). 70+ new cases so far today, total being 521 now.

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Enter a Original image: Helsingin Sanomat March 21 (https://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/art-2000006444843.html)

22:00 – Husband suggested we watch the Contagion from iMovie tonight. Apparently it was a 2011 flop with a top notch crew – Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, to mention a few. Fifteen minutes into the movie I knew why it flopped. It felt more like a documentary of something that hadn’t (and still hasn’t exactly) even happened yet. It was a lot like Corona outbreak, just a whole lot more agressive. Hopefully the world won’t come to the kind of chaos as depicted in that movie.

Day 10 – Sun March 22

12:00 – Just a leisurely Sunday. Nothing new in the world. People are still staying home and going about, depending on their level of intelligence and fear, I suppose. People are still catching Corona and dying of it. People are still avoiding contact. People are still disobeying curfews and getting fined, if not thrown to jail for it. People are being people. Stupid, irresponsible, self-centered, arrogant, idiots.* Be smart, stay home!

Meanwhile, responsible, intelligent extroverts are coming up with new ways of spending time together. People in our company WhatsApp group were talking about having parties and get-togethers with their friends, having drinks and game-nights together – all via Teams! Something us isolated intorverts don’t even think about, for we don’t do it anyway. Note, ISOLATED introverts. Like me and H.

*)  I saw this video of those spring-breakers in Florida and it got me quite pissed off. Stupid irresponsible self-centered idiots. The governor even refused to close the beaches! I mean, seriously, motherf*uckers! You ask me, they should’ve closed the beaches with those student on the beach side, to keep them from carrying Corona back home…

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Out on the morning walk

Outside, spring continues to spring. Sun is shining warmly warm, rabbits are fighting over mating, birds are birding and bees are beeing* (no, no bees as of yet). Nights are cold, like so often in the spring time, so we actually still have some snow on the ground, leftovers of the fluffball stuff that fell from the clouds yesterday when the weather was all BPD all day, going back and forth all day long between sunny and snowing.

*) Remember Moonlighting from the eighties? “Do bears bear? Do bees bee?” – David, a.k.a Bruce Willis

15:00 – After ranting about the idiots flocking to Florida beaches, what did I read? Finnish equivalents are racing to Lapland in thousands, despite the ski centers being shut down. Oh, I’ll just go to my cabin, it’s just me, no harm done! Thousands of just-me’s, potentially taking the virus into areas that so far have been safe, risking the whole health care in an area with barely the capacity to take care of their own. Where ambulances need to travel hundreds of kilometers just to reach you, and even more to get you to Rovaniemi.

And then there’s those air heads, mostly young boys, who spit and cough on other people, got to stores and touch everything, even lick everything, race up and down the metro cars touching every pole, every seat. With no regard for others, screaming “I already have Corona!” when someone tries to reprimand them.

Pepys
People don’t really change, now do they?

The number of confirmed contagions keeps climbing up. Today is the first day the amount of new confirmed cases passes 100, and it’s not even evening yet. Total count now is 626 – then again, almost as many are dying daily in Italy and Spain.

Day 11 – Mon March 23

9:30 – Another Monday. I haven’t worn jeans since Monday two weeks ago when I last was at the office. Sweats and a Tee or hoodie, every day.

I just read in the news that some Finnish hospitals are already running out of safety equipment. Like, WTF? This shit hasn’t even properly started here yet! Come to think of it, an MP was saying only recently that hospitals are recycling said equipment. Makes me real worried! If the hospital staff can’t keep themselves from getting infected, who’s gonna take care of all the sick when they’re sick too?*

11:00 – I am truly annoyed by this Finnish health organization THL and it’s overly careful and arrogant approach. They think they’re so smart, smarter that WHO and CDC. They think we’re so special here in Finland that the global recommendations don’t apply to us. Being an asthmatic myself, it totally pisses me off how they spread misleading and controversial information that contradicts what WHO and CDC already have declared. People are confused and don’t know what to believe.

If you are asthmatic (or have any other underlying chronic disease), yes you are in the risk group! THL uses this word “hoitotaspainossa”, which means your condition is in balance due to medication, ruling such chronically ill, e.g. asthmatic, people out of the risk group. What the fuck? CDC and WHO are quite clear on this: you have a chronic condition – especially heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, to mention some – you belong to risk group. Explicitly. There is no mention of “hoitotasapaino” anywhere.

Read for yourself:

14:00 – So far today 60 new confirmed corona cases, all in the HUS area of Uusimaa. We really should close southern Finland in order to protect the rest of the country. Our constitution has been built in such a way to prevent dictatorship, that it is now slowing down the actions of our government. I suppose it’s a positive thing – but in the meantime, people really should just take the recommendations seriously and stay the fuck home!

*) In the evening it was announced that our “huoltovarmuusvarastot”, the emergency supplies storages for hospitals are opened. Apparently, there’s plenty of equipment available.

Day 12 – Tue March 24

8:30 – I notice that I’m a little bit obsessed with my Corona news watch. I suppose it gives me some sort of sense of control in a situation where I can’t control much. Where the enemy lurking everywhere is so tiny that it goes through regular fabric and so persistant that it lives on surfaces for days. I stay home and go for dog walks, dodging other people on the paths, and hope for the best. H is the only one ever going to the store, and even then only if truly necessary and wearing a P3 protective mask and latex gloves.

Our life inside the house walls has been surprisingly peaceful and harmonious after the struggles of those very first days. So far anyway ;) Even D has been ok, spending time with friends in Google meets instead of hanging out somewhere, watching some Netflix and playing Sims4 when not doing school work. Her and I, we’re an explosive combo with our similarily flairing tempers, but we haven’t even had a single fight in these two weeks, I think.

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People have been buying all the TexMex dtuffs from the stores ;) I guess  there’s a lot of tacos on menus now! (Picture: Mari Sarolahti, Yle, from an article about empty store shelves)

17:00 – Another full day workshop via Teams over. Got to say, it is somewhat more exhausting than face to face. Still, it works quite ok. I have made a habit of starting my video for a while in the beginning, but turning it off after the initial chitchat and/or introductions. This for a couple reasons: saving bandwidth and because it’s just kinda unnecessary. Most (Finnish) people don’t really seem to like to have the video on all the time and I think it’s ok.

D and I had planned to go out for a longer walk with the dogs again, but our nice sunny day turned stormy by the time my workday was done, so we ditched that plan and I cooked her some food instead. Maybe the weather gods will be on our side tomorrow.

Our government is preparing to close off Uusimaa. I have long thought that would be the wises thing to do, considering that 2/3 of our Corona cases are right here: 512 out of 792 are in Uusimaa. They are also preparing to close down restaurants and bars. Really, if people just would’ve taken this seriously and not went on flocking to coffee shops and bars etc. maybe they could’ve stayed open to serve some. Then again, I can’t really find the sense in that either. If there’s no customers, why keep anything open?

22:30 Things that make you go hmm. Yle (and Johns Hopkins) is showing three numbers now: infected, dead and recoverd. If the number of cured and dead never adds up to the total number of cases, what happened to the rest of the infected? Chronic Corona?* 🤔

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Red: confirmed cases, black: dead, green: recovered (Image from Yle)

*) Yes, meager attempt at stupid humor. 

Day 13 – Wed March 25

11:30 – With the world closing down due to the tiny invisible enemy attacking humankind from every corner, one cannot but wonder what it means to economy, travel, the modern world order, when it’s all over.

Right before the virus hit, angry birds like Greta Thunberg were trying to shake up the world leaders to understand the threat of global warming. The threat we as over-consuming and decadent people pose to the world we live in. I admit: while I try to make the responsible choices, I don’t believe in overdoing it. Our planet has gone through multiple climate changes before, and it will way after people have been wiped off the face of it. Which, I hope, will happen soon enough. Unfortunately I don’t think Corona will do it full scale anyway, so I try to survive too.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-25 at 07.46.35

My main problem with the climate change propaganda has been exactly this: big deeds are demanded from little people, while corporations do what they please, causing way more climate and pollution issues in one minute than I in my lifetime.

Anyhow, it is nice to understand that when airplanes stay on the ground, ships don’t leave the ports, people don’t drive around in their cars, nature gets a break. If our lockdowns last long enough, maybe the news about dolphins in the canals of Venice will go from fake news to actual news. Just maybe. I am quite curious to see if any of the changes that are happening in the economics right now will actually last. Whether or not business travel, leisure travel, industry, all that stuff goes back to how it used to be, or if local industries will rise up again an  the whole globalized economic system will be ramped down for good.

I’m not very confident. It has been predicted for a long time now, but so far it’s all been just ramping up. Until Corona, that is. Unfortunately the greedy have their teeth deep in the system, and the rest of us first world people are used to our lifestyle enabled by it. Somehow I doubt this Corona will really put an end to it. A halt, sure, but an end? I guess we’ll live and see – if we don’t die of Corona first.

 

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Uusimaa, Finland (pic: Wikipedia)

22:00 – Hoping to go to sleep soon, but waiting for the government info about more restrictions like closing down Uusimaa. Not that they change my current life one bit, but interested all the same. The borders of Uusimaa might as well be one kilometer away instead of a hundred – that’s about as far as I ever venture from home anymore anyway. Even my lengthier dog walks still stay within, for it’s not warm enough yet.

 

Same goes for closing restaurants. It’s not like I go to restaurants too often anyway, now obviously not at all. Not even for takeout, which will still be possible even after the close-up.

Day 14 – Thu March 26

8:00 – Had dreams about socializing at the office with my work pals again last night. Work goes on, Teams chats and other messaging goes on, but I do miss the spontaneous chitchat at the office and spending time with my friends outside the office hours – not that frequent even, but usually monthly anyway. I’m not very social in the way that I don’t go out with friends or invite people over to our house or visit people at theirs much. I do enjoy the socializing at work and occasional recreational events with colleagues.

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El Librario de los Jacksonas, like every day

An airplane flew over as I was making  coffee. A rare thing anymore. It sort of surprised me even though I know they still do fly despite all the lockdowns and border closings. Finnair is bringing Finns home form different parts of the world – also and ambulance flight or two bringing hospitalized Finns back from Malaga – and I suppose some travel still happens despite the travel ban. I still see these news headlines about Finnair cutting down flights to places (like Tokyo) so I guess someone still travels. Is there really enough necessary business travel to warrant any regular flights? Of course, cargo planes fly anyway.

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Police will be blocking all roads, even the small backroads tomorrow.

Anyway, Uusimaa will be closed down for any unnecessary traffic between Uusimaa and the rest of Finland, starting possibly tomorrow, depending on how long it takes the parliament to pass the regulation. They’ve been totally slow in these processes, but that’s democracy for you. As said, they might as well lock down Helsinki or this few square kilometers area I live in for all I care. However, I think this is a wise move.

I believe this is the first time in the history of Independent Finland that there’s been travel restrictions within the country. It’s a pity that they even need to go this far – had people actually understood to stay at home and not flock the still uninfected parts of the country, these restrictive emergency laws wouldnt’ be needed.

20:30 – H went to the store today himself instead of having the food delivery bring stuff home tomorrow. He wanted some stuff from Lidl instead of the K-store. He said that there were only a few people besides him wearing any kind of protective masks, and people were looking at him like he’s a weirdo (well sure, that 3M P3 construction site mask is different than what people are used to seeing on the faces of  Chinese tourists). H was in the US military for a long time back in the 90’s, his expertise being biological warfare, so I suppose it gives this whole thing a bit of a twist for us.

The weather was amazingly nice today, so we had a glass or two of bubbly on our terrace today. It was cool still, but nice enough if you stood close to the gas terrace warmer. Earlier in the day D took the dogs out with her when she went to have a little picnic on blankets and I joined her with my laptop. I’m really anticipating the time when it’s warm enough again to just sit on the deck with my laptop, working right there in the sun.

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Half an hour of warm in the sun (with blankets :P )

Day 15 – Fri March 27

Out walking with the dogs I notice that people generally really are very religious about keeping the distance, passing each other as far as they can, slinking along the edges of the paths. But why do we all avert our eyes? It’s not like a nod or a smile or simple eye contact would make you more susceptible to corona infection! Still, I notice I do the same thing. Maybe even turn my back while waiting for the other one to pass as my dogs are sniffing the ground. Strange human behavior, part N.

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The brisket arrived with a complimentarty roll of toilet paper

17:00 – Another work week over. We have a brisket in the house now, waiting for H to rub some Slow Food Rub on it and stick it to the Weber grill to smoke for 18 hours or something. The meat arrived on our doorstep today fresh from a farm up in Pohjanmaa, ordered by H earlier this week. The dude rang our doorbell and by the time I opened the door, he was safely several meters away, smiling and waving and pointing at the box behind the door.

The cut-off of Uusimaa is postponed due to formalities. It was supposed to start at midnight tonight, but apparently our government needs to do some revisions for the regulation to actually pass. I really would not make a politician nor a lawyer. I understand that these things need to be done right, but I just wouldn’t have the patience. I’d end up shooting someone out of frustration. Yes. Kidding. But you get the point.

Day 16 – Sat March 28

Uusimaa is now in lockdown – they did get it into effect at midnight after all. H got an SMS from the government – VNK, ValtioNeuvoston Kanslia – this morning, informing about the close-up of Uusimaa. My message has yet to arrive. This is the first time our government has needed to do this kind of mass messaging, as far as I know.

In times like these I can’t help but understand how priviledged I am. My home is a safe place where I’m happy to be. We have plenty of food in the house and enough means to keep it that way as long as there’s supplies in the stores – or ability to order stuff straight from farms. We have jobs that are not immediately endangered by this shit – on the contrary. We are able to isolate ourselves, as our jobs also don’t require leaving the safety of our home. We have our own secluded yard with a nice big terrace and the ability grow our own greens if need be.

As content as I am in my secure life, it makes me a bit sad to understand that so many people are struggling and having it quite difficult. Financial problems are one thing, domestic violence another thing. These kinds of times just make it worse for those who don’t have it so good to begin with. There’s plenty of kids living in homes where parents beat and abuse them and each other, where parents don’t have the money or the interest to feed them, as parents drink most of the money that comes in.

Most people are somewhere in the middle ground. Had this stuff hit us a few years ago, we’d have been in a whole different situation too. I have gone through all sorts of hardships in my life – financial and otherwise – and I try to always remember that it doesn’t take much to rock my whole world again, too. I try to remember that while now I have plenty, that’s not the case for the majority of people, and it’s not a given for me either.

Which is why I try to help with that one thing I have: money. Making some donations to charity, especially those helping kids. In our company we have these Euro Jackpot group lotteries going every now and then. Yesterday we did a group charity donation, like we do aroud Christmas too, usually. Most of us are monthly donators too, all year round. It goes right into the values of our company: Take care.

And to brighten your day, watch this video so full of the joy of living even in quarantine. Our hope is in the youth <3 Vaskivuori Highschool Choir <3