I’ve been thinking a lot about how valuable my friendships are to me—now more than ever. My friends, I love you and your kids like my own family. And right now more than ever, man do I miss you guys.
Which is why I have to admit, as a New York City mom, it hurts me (and tbh, it kind of baffles me) to hear you say that our country’s response to the coronavirus has blown the threat out of proportion. That by social distancing for a few weeks—just taking a few measly weeks to keep people out of harm’s way and protect the extra-vulnerable—we’ve somehow all overreacted. That the whole country has fallen victim to some kind of runaway delusion, as some people have started to suggest.
My hometown is the current epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States. I can assure you that it doesn’t feel like we’re overreacting right now. In fact, quite the opposite.
Right now, with NYC public schools closed, with lines a block long outside of emptied-out grocery stores, with terrified and exhausted delivery people wearing masks to drop off boxes in lobbies at all hours, with stretched-to-the-limit city health care workers literally begging people to stay home while sounding the alarm about how bad this is about to get, it very much feels like we haven’t done enough.
Please don’t get me wrong, my beloved friend—I’m glad this feels far away for you. I see the low case counts where you live, and I’m so, so grateful that the threat seems distant right now.
What I’m afraid of is, it probably won’t stay that way. And I’m not alone.
As New York’s state governor, Andrew Cuomo, said to other states in his news briefing this week, “We are your future.”
Tracking the outbreak in Italy this past month has been like watching New York City’s future in some messed-up horrible dystopian crystal ball, and now that future is here. It’s not made up. It’s really happening.
My city—my tough-as-nails, much-loved, often-tested city—is fighting this battle every day, with everything it’s got. And the fear among experts is that even New York City’s fiercest efforts will not be enough to keep infections from skyrocketing to the point where our incredible, hard-working health care system is completely overwhelmed.
And listen, I’m working from home all day with my husband and my kid while suddenly running the world’s laziest homeschool too—I get that social distancing is not a snow day. I get that we’re all worried about the economy. I get that families across the country are already hurting—financially, emotionally—because of the protective measures science is telling us are our best hope of stopping this thing.
But I’m scared for my friends elsewhere who don’t seem to think this is really happening, or who don’t seem to think it can really happen to them, where they live.
I would love nothing more than to enclose you and your kids in a protective bubble and keep you from having to go through anything similar to what’s happening in New York right now.
I would love nothing more, in fact, than to look back in two weeks and say, “Gosh, you were right! It ended up not being that big of a deal! Not that many people got sick, not that many people died—we overreacted!”
But here’s what I really think—and scientists all over the world are saying the same thing—if in two weeks we look back and it seems like we all overreacted, that’s how we know it worked.
And hey, that way we’d both get to be right. 😉😘