So here’s a fun way to spend Mardi Gras: Be home with a cold, and have a kid home with a cold, and another one still coughing from what is likely the source of this present round of family plague . . . and then check in with The Guardian’s updates on the ripple out of northern Italy sending folk all over Europe into self-isolation.
I’m on about my third cold-type illness for 2020, and no it’s not just me, my kids bring these things home from school. No one’s been seriously ill (though I did not love that fever I had the other week while doing edits on the book). I can’t keep kids home from school until they are asymptomatic or they’d virtually never attend. Last year teaching, I ran out of sub days (and the school’s not stingy) just taking off when actually feverish or coughing badly enough you could hear the wheeze across the room (and no, I didn’t get sick any more often than my own children or the other students). Most of the time as a teacher if I was feeling under the weather I’d just arrange the desks so the kids could keep their distance and then remind the crew to wash wash wash those hands.
And thus, assuming the entire rest of the world also catches colds and also has to keep on moving through life regardless, there can be very little in the way of good data on what COVID-19 is doing. Even countries that can be counted on to publish reliable statistics are limited by local variations in (1) the effectiveness of their diagnostics and (2) the proportion of sickish of people who actually go in to the clinic to get diagnosed.
So we don’t know, and we won’t be able to know for a while.
Not a whole lot you can do. But pro-tip: If you were going to buy some child you live with a toy or game or book for an upcoming holiday or birthday or milestone event . . . you might go ahead and acquire the item and stash it in a hiding place. Then if you end up in quarantine before-times, you’ll have a surprise to pull out some desperate afternoon when you really, really need it.
If not? Give it on the intended day.
When life gives you mind games, go with the no-downsides precautions. Win-win.
Photo of Lego bricks, courtesy of Wikimedia CC 2.0. Another pro-tip: Certain toys are easier to disinfect than others. Ask yourself, “Can this be run through the hot wash and dryer? Can it be dropped in a bucket of bleach?” If yes, that’s a plague-friendly activity.