Reflections on the Past 100 Days
More than one hundred days have passed since the pandemic became everyone’s prime focus. We have all watched first as trickles of information seeped into our lives, flattening the curve, social distancing, PPE, all the new terms became part of our lexicon.
Though few in the early days expected such a dynamic change could overcome an entire planet is such short order, we watched, the first lockdowns precipitated our futures. Perhaps a sense of foreboding led some to stock up on essentials, the silliness of the hoarding shopper had little impact on our supplies here.
I imagine the senior government officials were either dusting off pandemic plans (even private industry invested a lot in this after SARS) or scrambling to react to this giant wave of change. One thing we are conveniently forgetting is that we were all flying by the seat of our pants. Early data was sketchy, approaches or potential solutions untested in the real world. Governments and medical experts had to work in tandem, reacting with each new flow of data.
Panama lockdown is strict, no doubt about that. The repercussions of allowing the free flow of the virus would have been severe. The economic impacts to the country are national. The government distributed food and funds were augmented by good people gathering donations, shopping, packaging and delivering to help their neighbors in need without consideration of their own well being.
At the start of the lockdown, figuring out how to do what you need to do was challenging for many. With only a few hours weekly, shopping can be stressful. People started wearing masks before they were mandated, each store set up sanitary precautions on entry, and except for Panama paydays, most of the stores are busy but not packed.
The single biggest impact for the expats seemed to be Ley Seca, the alcohol ban, if the online communities can be considered a reliable source. The cry was far and wide and for some, the final straw.
A small group began searching in earnest for humanitarian flights gets to their previous countries. Governments and embassies have accommodated and are the only flights in and out of the country.
At the same time, I noticed a new trend. Interest in moving to Panama has reignited, people querying local online groups for information. The strain of the pandemic hasn’t dampened the same enthusiasm and sense of adventure we all experienced as we began our quest for a change which led us here.
As each government has been reopening, in efforts to restart the economy, many are not following their own detailed guidelines on safety. In each situation, a new upsurge in cases is identified almost as though the virus does not care if we are tired of it and would like to move on. Each loosening of restrictions so far has had a negative impact and governments must decide if an unpopular rollback is required or if they ignore the signs and keep status quo.
A delicate balancing act between public health and the economy is required.
These are life and death decisions. Across the world, we have seen various approaches to battling the virus, each with their own good and bad ideas. We are in a rough period now, stuck on hold as slowly things begin to open.
We must remain patient, everyone is doing their best. We each have our own burdens and how we are handling our current situation is our very own, we must allow everyone to process in their own way.
Yesterday, I realized how little of our surroundings have suffered the pandemic. The sun continues to shine (though only til the rain falls), the grass continues to grow, the flowers bloom in abundance. The bugs and birds go about their business. The waves continue to crash to the shore and the stars continue to shine. We are privileged to be surrounded by such natural beauty, perhaps take some time to find the wonder again.
As always, stay safe, stay healthy and stay home. Support your local businesses and volunteers. Take some time to reflect on the future, one day at a time.