– Ben Martens

COVID-19: Part 2

On Friday I woke up to the news that someone in our division had tested positive. The company notified everyone who was likely to have been in close proximity to him. It was in another building so it’s highly unlikely that I crossed paths with him, but it does make the “everyone work from home” recommendation seem like more of an obvious good move.

The first couple days of working from home were less productive than normal, but I think our team is getting settled in. I was asked to collect some best practices and set expectations about how we will interact and stay in our highly-collaborative mode even though we’re separated. Thankfully, collaboration tools have gotten a lot better in recent years, and while there are a lot of things I’d change about Microsoft Teams, it really is an excellent service.

Over the weekend, life continued to be pretty normal. We met up with Tyla’s family on Saturday to celebrate Logan’s birthday and then we went to Pizza Coop for dinner. I wasn’t sure what to expect there, but it felt like a very normal Saturday evening crowd. Church was well-attended on Sunday as well. The grocery stores are well-stocked, and other than news stories and less traffic than normal, there’s very little to indicate that anything odd is going on.

But it’s that normalcy that feels the strangest. Major snowstorms and power outages have a visible component and it’s easy for me to understand what I can do to help keep my family safe. But in this case, it’s a silent virus floating around. Could we do everything as normal and not be affected? Have we already come in contact with it and not caught it? Are we on the brink of exponential growth in the infection rate? None of these things are knowable or measurable. Life goes on except that every time someone coughs, heads snap in their direction and people scoot away.

It remains to be seen whether our current efforts will be effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19, but I’m also interested to see what effect our improved hygiene has on standard illnesses like colds and the flu. Will those numbers be noticeably lower because we’re all washing our hands more often and staying home even when we have a little cough? I’d like to think that improved hygiene will be something we all take away from this, but the reality is that we’ll probably revert to our old ways a few months after this scare is over and we’re on to the election coverage.