Politicians won’t admit it yet, but it’s time to prepare—physically and psychologically—for a sudden stop to all life outside your home.
Whether you are reading this in your living room in Vancouver, office in London, or on a subway in New York City, you need to think hard, and fast, about two crucial questions: Where, and with whom, do you want to spend the next six to 12 weeks of your life, hunkered down for the epidemic duration? And what can you do to make that place as safe as possible for yourself and those around you?
Your time to answer those questions is very short—a few days, at most. Airports will close, trains will shut down, gasoline supplies may dwindle, and roadblocks may be set up. Nations are closing their borders, and as the numbers of sick rise, towns, suburbs, even entire counties will try to shut the virus out by blocking travel. Wherever you decide to settle down this week is likely to be the place in which you will be stuck for the duration of your epidemic.
To appreciate what lies ahead for the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, pay heed to Italy, France, and Germany. The United States, for example, is currently tracking exactly where Italy was about 10 days ago. France and Germany, which track two to five days ahead of the United States, are now revving up measures akin to those taken by Italy, including lockdowns on movement and social activity. In a matter of days, the United States will follow suit.
If you live alone, have no family members or close friends who require your special attention, and have no alternative living space, you have no decision to make. You are where you will be for coming weeks....
It’s also important to prepare psychologically. Every family or couple has its issues, and tensions can amplify during long confinement. Common sense can ease the shared suffering.
If children are undergoing remote schooling, and parents are simultaneously working remotely, everybody needs headphones, plenty of computer bandwidth, and a designated workspace. Before stores close, make sure every user has proper cables, headphones, batteries, adapters, and other tools of the computer trade.
Printers, if they will be used, require paper and ink: Have plenty on hand.
Everybody needs routines, including exercise and recreation. Shared burdens of cooking and cleaning should be offset by shared play and fun.
Boredom and stress can suck the lifeblood out of a person. Before your home goes on lockdown, make sure your download accounts for movies and television are paid. There are plenty of good books around the house, and games and decks of cards are handy.