Today marks the start of the second month of the lockdown here in France. It is almost impossible to believe that such a long time has passed! Who would have thought that the modern times, with its advancement in different fields (including the medical field and the health sector) and the great strides towards modernization and global stability, would experience a problem such as a pandemic! 😦
The novel coronavirus, previously referred as nCoV-2019 and now called COVID-19, was first detected in December 2019, in Wuhan, in the Hubei province of China. With what started as a few cases in one country, currently, the viral infection has now spread to more than 200 countries in the world, with over two million cases, causing the death of more than 130, 000 people. Here in France, as of today, there are more than 140,000 cases and over 15,000 deaths. Six (6) Filipinos in France have also been reported to have died of the virus. This situation is worrisome. In my home country, the Philippines, there are over 5,000 people with COVID-19 cases, and around 350 deaths. These numbers, sadly, may be expected to increase in the next days, as more tests are being conducted. Like in other countries, many from the health sector, who are at the front lines of battling the virus, have fallen. 😦
Currently, there is no cure yet for COVID-19, but some drugs/treatments have been reported to have potential to treat COVID-19 patients. These are the following: Actemra, antibody treatment, Avigan, convalescent plasma, favipiravir, human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells, hydroxychloroquine, Kaletra, Kevzara, lopinavir-ritonavir, remdesivir, and TAK-888. I sincerely hope that soon, research on the treatment will be successful.
Certainly, I have many thoughts now on this modern pandemic, the actions or inactions of countries, the travel bans and whether they were effective or not, the extension of the lockdown and its effects on the citizens and the countries’ economies, the heroism of the health workers at this time, etc. However, I thought of writing today, not really to expound on those. I believe that there are experts and scholars who are more knowledgeable and more qualified to talk about the issue. Plus, there is already a deluge of information on COVID-19, many of which need to be filtered to avoid misinformation, fake news, sensational reporting, and causes for anxiety. Thus, please pardon the lengthy introduction; that was just needed for context.
I would like to share with you what the past month has been like and what activities kept me busy and sane. 😉 In a month, I only went out thrice, once for work and twice for groceries. As someone who has been busy working from the time I was in college, even keeping three jobs for several years, before I became a diplomat, the one month lockdown was a very different period. My office mates and I work from home and emails need to be answered intermittently all throughout the day and work-related reports need to be prepared. Even with this, there’s still much free time to use or misuse. It’s the only time that I was able to really communicate daily with my family members and friends.
It’s the time that I was able to bring back doing several of my hobbies, which I haven’t had the luxury of time for almost 20 years. For example, I am playing the guitar again. (It was great that I was able to order one before the lockdown). I also have time now to draw/sketch, which was one of my favorite past times before. I have no excuse now not to cook or not to have a proper meal (although it still happens sometimes) since I am just staying at home and have bought needed grocery supplies.
I love learning too. The lockdown gave me time to do online courses. I’m on my third course now. The first two were related to what else but the pandemic and COVID-19? I’m really thankful for the online learning platforms, which are a source of a wealth of information at this time. I continued my self-review of the French language (a few minutes of Duolingo everyday and sometimes, some free tutorials). I reconnected with my fellow Toastmasters from the UP Manila Toastmasters Club, via an online teleconference. Also, some books that have been waiting for me in my book shelves now have my attention. I make sure to read a chapter or more per day, although, I read several books at one time, so I just shift from one or another, depending on my mood.
Movie-watching, which was a luxury for me in the past years, has become a daily part of my routine. Some of the movies I have watched are Roma, The Pianist, The Revenant, The Pursuit of Happyness, Miracle in Cell No. 7, several Studio Ghibli movies (my favorite so far are Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Tales from Earthsea), the Koreanovela “Crash Landing on You,” and several other movies. I also watch Sherlock Holmes episodes in between movies; his observation and analytical skills are amazing! (I know he’s a fictional character but can we also hire him to solve recent crimes? 😉 )
I also have an exercise routine, which I planned to do every day. But I faltered in some days, owing to more hours in bed, or an additional episode of a Netflix series, or simply the feeling of being languid.
So far, the month has been productive. But there are days that aren’t so good–the times when I really felt like I needed a walk, when I miss the warm caress of the sun, feel the freedom of being out there with nature, and try new restaurants or cafés around Paris. I am aware that I should be thankful that I have a cozy apartment, enough food supplies, and means to communicate digitally with my loved ones and with the outside world, but sometimes, I can’t help but worry about my family, workmates and friends possibly getting sick with the virus.
Thankfully, there’s the 8 o’clock habit, in which everyone around Paris (and in the whole of France, I suppose), clap and cheer for the front liners. This is the only time of the day when my neighborhood becomes “alive” and I look forward to it and join the applause every night. I am also glad that one of my neighbors, who I usually hear coughing day and night, does not seem to cough that often now; I have silently prayed for her when I still hear her coughing at 2AM or even during day time.
Now that the lockdown here has been extended until May 11, there’s still almost a month to use well. I hope to practice more self-discipline (follow the “early to bed, early to rise” policy, for example), do physical fitness routines, learn more things, write more blog entries, constantly communicate with my family and loved ones, continue my daily talks with God, find ways to help others, and do other personal goals.
What about you? How do you intend to spend the lockdown while isolated? What are your concerns? Just drop me a line if you want to talk. As much as possible, stay at home, please. This is the least we can do as ordinary citizens to join the fight against COVID-19. Stay healthy. Take good care. ❤
P.S. The featured photo is a pigeon by my window, who was listening intently to my offer of food and water. Haha! 😀 I made a makeshift water station at my other window, where I already saw three types of birds (pigeons mostly, but there’s a black bird with royal blue plumes and a rarely seen brown bird) quenching their thirst.