What a fucking crazy time.
There are currently 14 cases of COVID-19 in Namibia. The reporting of confirmed cases has slowly been increasing in frequency and magnitude. It’s unclear to me how many are local transmission but there is no confirmed community transmission yet.*
We’ve decided that we are going to ride this pandemic out in Namibia. We are not going back to the US. (Unless we are forced to.) We are prepared to shelter-in-place in our house for months, we are ready to cut social in-person activities, and we have experience with the whole “no walking outside” thing, if it comes to that. We are ready. Is it crappy and will it get even crappier? Yes.
There were a number of factors to consider, many of which are, at this point, huge gaping question marks. But ultimately we decided that we are safer (both health-wise and emotionally) if we stay here. Only time will tell if we made the right decision. Or maybe we’ll go to Ordered Departure and then we will have to leave. Who knows. I have no idea what can/will happen.
We have some advantages here in Southern Africa**: we’ve watched this virus march across the planet and we’ve learned a lot from the responses of other countries. Many were slow to start testing and social distancing, quarantine advisories were implemented too late, and most countries didn’t do much until transmission was already out of control. Here, we’ve had time to practice habits like social distancing, washing our hands ALL THE TIME, less touching of faces, etc. Plus the science behind COVID-19 is improving and we are learning more and more. Will this work out to our advantage? We’ll see; only time will tell.
People around Namibia, including the government of Namibia, are taking this more seriously than I expected, honestly. About a week ago restrictions went into place. Nonessential shops are closed. You can’t buy alcohol. Restaurants are only open for take-out. No exercising or walking outside in groups of more than three people. Police are driving around enforcing the rules. All points of entry into Namibia, with the exception of the international airport in Windhoek, will be closed for non-commercial travelers. These restrictions are in place until April 17.
What will happen after that? Who knows. The epidemic in Namibia is only starting, and I can’t imagine that on April 18 the disease will magically disappear.
In the meantime we are working from home and who knows when M will go back to school. I have to keep reminding myself that this is hard for him too. He’d rather be at school, playing and learning with his teachers and friends, and going to dance and swimming classes than being cooped up at home with distracted, working parents who don’t always have time for him. Sometimes he gets upset, and we give him even more love and attention. There’s been a lot of hugging and talking about our feelings, much of which he initiates.
There’s a fine line between staying up-to-date on the COVID-19 news and science, and getting drawn into a doom and gloom pit of despair. Here are some resources/websites I find helpful and look at daily:
- Trying to stay up-to-date on information and public health measures for COVID-19? Look at the CDC website. I don’t like the WHO website; I find it to be confusing and less helpful if you are a person who just wants info.
- Trying to keep up-to-date on what the State Dept is doing? Check out Diplopundit.
- Looking for a way to explain COVID-19 to your kids? I find this infocomic to be really helpful.
- Looking for easily digestible graphs that explain COVID-19 epidemiology and trends? I like how the data is displayed on Information is Beautiful but it’s only updated once or twice a week.
- Looking for better information than the Johns Hopkins tracker provides? Worldometer has a lot of helpful information by country, including cases per one million population, epi curves (new cases per day), mortality statistics, etc.
So, here we are. Who’d have thought we’d be in a situation with a global authorized departure. But this too shall pass, and at least this time we don’t have terrorists trying to kill us! There’s always a bright side.
*Local transmission is different from community transmission. Let’s say you are a tourist and you’re COVID-19 positive. If your receptionist/driver/etc gets COVID-19 from you that is local transmission. Community transmission is when a disease is transmitted from one person to another without a link to travel.
** We also have some major disadvantages here like poor/insufficient health care and some people that are malnourished or immunocompromised, etc. The baseline situation in Namibia is not cupcakes and rainbows.