I had to press pause on my blog break to just celebrate a proud sister moment. Some of you may recall that I celebrated the New Year in Italy with my brother and his family in northern Italy. Roughly a week after returning to the U.S. the news broke about the first reported case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Seattle, Washington. Not long after that we heard about the rapid spread of the virus Italy.
You can imagine that the family here in the States were extremely concerned for my brother and his crew as the coverage began to consume the news. Then on the evening of March 11th I had one of the worst nights of sleep I can remember in recent history and at 1:37AM that next morning I got an unusual message from my brother who usually doesn’t text at that time because he’s good about tracking the time difference.
He was urging me and my parents to begin observing the kind of safety protocols that they were doing in Italy at the urging of the government there. He was genuinely concerned that based on the coverage he was seeing that the U.S. was taking too long to implement public heath safety measures appropriate to protect populace.
At the time I had a much anticipated trip that would mark my return to Amtrak training across the country. I had been watching the news closely and was confident that I would still be able to make my trip. My plan was to board Amtrak in Little Rock at Union Station (Mopac Station) and ride up to Chicago Union Station on the Texas Eagle and then hop the Greyhound from Chicago to Kansas City, Missouri.
Then the plan was to catch up with family and friends and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day before hoping the Missouri River Runner train back over to St. Louis Gateway Station and catching the Texas Eagle back to Little Rock.
I wrestled for three days trying to decide if it was still safe to make the trip before waking up the following morning with a sense that I need to change my plans. Later that morning the mayor of Kansas City declared a state of emergency and you could tell they atmosphere in the country had really begun to shift. We got the first news of a C19 case in Memphis, TN, I knew it wouldn’t be long before they reported the first case in Arkansas.
Booo, Coronavirus! https://images.app.goo.gl/zp8P8DokG1LX2WX26
I am so proud of my brother for speaking up. I’ll admit I was annoyed when I first read the note because I love to travel and I’m used to people worrying about me when I travel because I do a lot of my traveling solo. But he was absolutely right to worry and to share his concerns when he did.
I am blessed to report that my husband and I are safe and sheltered comfortably in Little Rock. My brother and his family are safe in Italy and our parents are safe and secure in their home in Atlanta. We are ALL taking this pandemic seriously and following the guidance of the CDC. We will do our part to look after the safety of those around us and stay home until the nation gets the spread of this virus under control.
I am thankful for the technology that keeps us up to date with CDC.gov. I am thankful that I can check in with friends and family through calls and social media platforms. I appreciate the grocery stores and all their employees who are making it possible for us to restock when necessary and in a safe manner. I am grateful that I can continue to work from home which would not be possible without the folks keeping our electricity, gas, water and internet in good working order.
I am extra thankful for my brother and proud of the way I just saw him share his family’s story as a way to urge everyone to take this pandemic seriously.
Here’s the link to the news story they were interviewed for today remotely from Italy. https://www.ksla.com/2020/03/20/exclusive-arkansas-family-tells-life-quarantined-italy/
This global death count is not a joke. This disease is not a hoax. We don’t need to panic, we need to be patient and prudent and follow the advice of our medical professionals. This is a time for us to be the best version of ourselves as Americans who care about the welfare of our friends and neighbors.
Stay safe, everyone and let’s all do our part.
Marta C. Youngblood is the founder and creative engine behind TheWRITEaddiction creatives co-op founded in 2014 as a virtual community supporting writers from all over the United States of America. Marta’s passion drives her to support the success of creatives from all walks of life to honor their talent and share it with the world. She believes that working in our creative callings does not have to be synonymous with being a “starving artist” and helps creatives master the business skills and strategies they need to work in their gifts.